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Monday, 21 January, 2019

Alpha Centauri set to race on in 2019 with the Matron next up

Alpha Centauri: heads to the Matron Stakes on the back of a magnificent summer
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Magnificent miler Alpha Centauri is likely to remain a firm fixture of Flat racing next year after Jessica Harrington revealed that she was unlikely to be retired at the end of her three-year-old campaign.

Harrington also announced Alpha Centauri's next appearance would be in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on September 15.

She was speaking alongside Aidan and Joseph O'Brien, Ger Lyons and Pat Smullen on an illustrious panel for the launch of Longines Irish Champions Weekend at the Royal College Of Surgeons in Dublin's city centre on Tuesday.

"It looks like Alpha is going to stay in training next season which is great but there is a lot of water to pass under the bridge before then, starting with the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown next month," Harrington said.

She added: "The timing of the Matron is perfect for her. She has been to England twice and then to France for her last three runs so it is great to go just 40 minutes down the road for her next race."

Alpha Centauri made it four consecutive Group 1 wins on Sunday when she stormed to victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.

"She was great on Sunday, really great," Harrington said. "It was amazing to watch. She did what was written on the label. She is always doing what is written on the label now. I suppose that adds an extra bit of pressure and I just hope I don't make a nonsense of it. She doesn't mind whether she goes from the front or behind. She is so straightforward now."

Alpha Centauri was the standout name among the 43 entries for the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes, although Aidan O'Brien revealed that he could run Clemmie, Rhododendron, Hydrangea and a few others in the mile event for fillies on what is the first day of Irish Champions Weekend.

Saxon Warrior and Roaring Lion are set to renew their rivalry in the Juddmonte International at York next Wednesday, but a sixth round between the pair could arrive in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes as both their names featured among a stellar entry of 35.

Perhaps the most interesting entry of all is Amedeo Modigliani, who was a leading fancy for Ballydoyle for this year's Investec Derby but met with a setback earlier in the season. 

"Amedeo is nearly ready to go and he remains very exciting," said O'Brien. "We are going to start him off in a mile and a quarter race at the Curragh next and then the Irish Champion could be an option. He is an exciting type of horse in that he is a very strong traveller who works like a miler but we think he will stay too."

O'Brien also revealed that impressive Tyros Stakes winner Anthony Van Dyck could be aimed at the National Stakes when the second leg of Irish Champions Weekend switches to the Curragh on September 16, while Galway maiden winner Hermosa might be pencilled in for a crack at the Moyglare Stud Stakes on the same afternoon.

Also on that card is the Irish St Leger, a race Order Of St George has won for two of the last three years and he is set to try to land it for a third time according to O'Brien.

"Order Of St George was very good in the race last year and, all being well, he will be back to try and defend his crown. He certainly seems to like it at the Curragh," O'Brien said.

Order Of St George: will bid for a third Irish St Leger in September

Order Of St George will have to try and reverse Ascot Gold Cup form with runner-up Torcedor as Harrington stressed he is a definite runner in the race.

She said: "Torcedor has had a fantastic season and just keeps bumping into Stradivarius. He will definitely be going to the Irish St Leger, I'd imagine. Sure we have nothing to lose."

Irish Champions Weekend will include six Group 1s over the two days with the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five upgraded to Group 1 level this year.

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It looks like Alpha is going to stay in training next season which is great but there is a lot of water to pass under the bridge before then
E.W. Terms
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