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Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Head girl: Alpha Centauri best Irish three-year-old filly since Ridgewood Pearl

Alpha Centauri: now rated 124 after her commanding win in the Prix Jacques le Marois
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Alpha Centauri is officially the best three-year-old Irish-trained filly since Ridgewood Pearl 23 years ago after her rating was upped 2lb to 124 on Monday, a day on from her magical Marois display.

Alpha Centauri's new mark is the same as the rating given to Found after she had won the Arc in 2016 but, of course, that was as a four-year-old.

Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board senior Flat handicapper Garry O'Gorman said on Monday the way she conquered the colts in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville made a big impression.

Ridgewood Pearl, who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes, Prix Du Moulin and Breeders' Cup Mile during a terrific campaign in 1995, reached a rating of 126 that year and is the only three-year-old filly to have soared to a higher mark than Alpha Centauri in recent times.

Alpha Centauri streaks away from her rivals to win with ease

Gorman said: "I was extremely impressed by Alpha Centauri and after careful consideration I decided to put her up 2lb to a new mark of 124, which means she is the best three-year-old filly we have had here since Ridgewood Pearl in 1995.

"She is the first filly to be rated as high as 124 since Found won the Arc as a four-year-old. 

"Going into the race I was hoping Alpha Centauri would improve her rating and she didn't disappoint. Now we know what she did against her own sex was not a mirage."

He added: "My colleagues in France have actually gone 2lb higher and raised her to 126, but I would be 1lb lower than them on the general level of the race.

"It will be interesting to see how she fares when the next world ranking list is revealed in September. I liked her from very early on as I couldn't believe what she was doing at two given her size. I have to admit I lost the faith a little, but your first thought is always your best thought."

Trainer Jessica Harrington and Alan Cooper, racing manager to owners the Niarchos family, both agree the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes on September 15 is where we are likely to see Alpha Centauri next, and Leopardstown chief executive Pat Keogh says he would be privileged to welcome a filly he thinks could become one of the best of all time. 

"There's no doubt about it, Alpha Centauri has her own fan club now and she puts bums on seats," he said. "She's an outstanding filly and could be one of the best of all time.

"We'd love to see her running during Longines Irish Champions Weekend, she'd be welcomed with open arms. 

"Not only is the horse herself incredibly popular but Jessie is so popular too, and she's done such a terrific job with her. I'm sure there would be an incredible atmosphere at Leopardstown if she runs in the Matron, and that day really is oozing with quality.

"It's very exciting and Alpha Centauri certainly adds to that excitement."


Top-rated horses in the world as of August 5 (next update Sep 13)

130 Winx
129 Gun Runner
129 Poet’s Word
128 Crystal Ocean
125 Battaash
125 Cracksman
124 Justify
124 West Coast
123 Benbatl
123 Happy Clapper
123 Thunder Snow
123 Trapeze Artist
(Alpha Centauri was rated 122)

3yo fillies since 2000 rated higher than 124

130 Treve (2013)
128 Enable (2017)
128 Zarkava (2008)
128 Danedream (2011)
126 Egyptband (2000)
125 Goldikova (2008)

3yo fillies since 2000 rated less than 124

123 Taghrooda (2014)
123 Banks Hill (2001)
122 Minding (2016)
122 Peeping Fawn (2007)
122 Divine Proportions (2005) 


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Going into the race I was hoping Alpha Centauri would improve her rating and she didn't disappoint
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