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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Staying home: Laurens heads for the Sun Chariot after overseas adventures

Karl Burke and Danny Tudhope celebrate Laurens' victory in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown
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Her owner's wish to win another top-level contest in Britain is behind Laurens' likely next port of call, trainer Karl Burke said on Sunday.

Speaking a day on from what he described as "probably the highlight of my career", with Laurens beating Alpha Centauri and co in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, Burke pointed the way to Newmarket next month, while not completely ruling out the Prix de l'Opera and a step back up to a mile and a quarter.

Watch Laurens win the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes here

The Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes over a mile on October 6 is the goal for Laurens, the apple of owner John Dance's eye who has won three of her four Group 1s on foreign soil, her Leopardstown victory being preceded by success at Chantilly in the Prix de Diane and at Longchamp in the Prix Saint-Alary.

Laurens already has one Group 1 on the Rowley Mile to her name, having landed the Fillies' Mile last autumn, and Dance would like more of the same. 

"The Sun Chariot is the next target," said Burke. "John was keen to return to Britain after she won her last three Group 1s in France and Ireland. He wants to win another Group 1 in the UK." 

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was the big dream at the start of the year, but after not quite getting home over a mile and a half in the Yorkshire Oaks on her previous start – Laurens gave the form of that race won by Sea Of Class a big boost on Saturday, albeit back down to a mile in the Matron – that ambition fell away. 

Laurens and Danny Tudhope land the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown

It is, however, conceivable Laurens could still grace Longchamp on its big day, October 7. Burke added: "The Prix de l'Opera on Arc day could be an option, but the Sun Chariot is the idea for now." 

Twenty-four hours can be a long time in racing, and the Burke yard went into battle on Saturday off the back of a fatal injury sustained by two-year-old Commanding Officer at Doncaster the day before.

The promising son of Poet's Voice became upset in the stalls before the Flying Scotsman Stakes, doing irreparable damage.

"Laurens winning was a good end to a sticky week," said Burke. "A few of the horses disappointed at Doncaster, and it was a horrible incident with Commanding Officer.

"These things happen in racing though. You have to move on quickly, and the victory of Laurens was a complete contrast in emotions."

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John was keen to return to Britain after winning her last three Group 1's in France and Ireland
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