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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Number five! Laurens holds on in the dying strides to notch another Group 1

Laurens in the winner's enclosure with beaming connections after her fifth Group 1 victory
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The Laurens story may have moved on since her last visit to the Rowley Mile for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, but Karl Burke's filly still settled a score when racking up her fifth Group 1 win.

Unlike the Classic back in May, the East Anglian rains came just in time to wash away the memory of her defeat at the hands of the reopposing Billesdon Brook, who never got a look-in this time as Laurens made most to hold off the persistent Happily.

The daughter of Siyouni became the second winner of the Group 1 Matron Stakes in three years, after Alice Springs in 2016, to follow up in the competitive Sun Chariot, which featured three runners from Aidan O'Brien's stable and an appearance of French raider Wind Chimes.

Backed into 11-4 favouritism (from 7-2) close to the off, Laurens was keen enough throughout but was travelling best at the bushes and ground out her fourth win of the season in a race that little came from off the pace.

Owner John Dance had decided not to travel from his home in the north-east to see his pride and joy but it may be a different story if she runs at the Qipco Champions meeting at Ascot or the Breeders Cup next time.

Burke said: "We might've been cursing the rain if she'd got collared in the last few strides. Danny said she was still changing her legs despite all the rain and she just dances.

"We've put that down to the firm ground before but Danny said she was doing exactly the same out there. Two furlongs out I thought she'd absolutely bolted up, but she needed the line in the last 100 yards."

Laurens is in the midst of a busy spell and it may not be finished yet. Burke added: "The best decision we made was to give her a break after she'd won the Prix de Diane.

"When we were here last we wanted this rain before the 1,000 Guineas and we've got that scalp back from Billesdon Brook, but that was then and this is now."

Laurens (right) fends off Happily with yet another tenacious display

As to the future, Laurens has options at Ascot and the Breeders' Cup but post-race comment from Tudhope may have a bearing. Burke added: "Danny said she may be better going around a bend like she did in the Matron. She's in the Qipco Champion Stakes and could be supplemented for the QEII. Alternatively, she has two options at the Breeders' Cup "

After her latest win, Paddy Power cut Laurens to 5-1 (from 8) for the Breeders' Cup Mile and introduced her at 6-1 for the Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on November 3.

Happy with Happily

Aidan O’Brien, trainer of runner-up Happily, said: "We’re delighted with her run and she ran a great race. She ran a stormer in the Irish [1,000] Guineas but things just haven’t fallen for her this season. It was a good run today and we'll look at going to Ascot, or even America with her."

Excuse for Wind Chimes

The disappointment of the race was French runner Wind Chimes. She was never travelling but was subsequently found to have an irregular heartbeat.

Result, replay and analysis

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John was quite happy to supplement her for the QEII if that's what we want to do
E.W. Terms
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