Laurens will go in search of the fifth Group 1 success of her career when she lines up against nine fillies in the £266,875 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes - the penultimate leg in the Mile category of the 2018 QIPCO British Champions Series - at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday (6th October).
The straight mile will hold no fears for the daughter of Siyouni as this very course and distance was the setting for the beginning of her Group 1 winning spree, in the bet365 Fillies’ Mile almost 12 months ago, and also saw her finish second, behind one of Saturday’s rivals, Billesdon Brook, in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas back in early May.
She has thrived since then, crossing The Channel to land both the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary and the Group 1 Prix de Diane [French Oaks]. After failing to stay a mile and a half when finishing sixth in the Yorkshire Oaks, she got back to winning ways in the Group 1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown three weeks ago.
Her opponents will be led by the André Fabre-trained French raider, Wind Chimes, who was taking on some of the best milers in Europe, of any age or sex, when caught on the line by Recoletos in the Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp on 9th September.
Irish Champion Trainer Aidan O’Brien, fresh from his wonderful treble on the Rowley Mile last Saturday, will be triple-handed as he bids for a third straight Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes triumph.
Ryan Moore will be aboard Clemmie, winner of last year’s Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes at the course and third to Laurens in the Matron Stakes last time out; Aidan’s son, Donnacha, will partner the Matron fifth and dual Group 1 scorer, Happily; and Seamie Heffernan will ride the recent Group 2 Boomerang Stakes winner, I Can Fly.
The most lightly-raced member of the field will be Sir Michael Stoute’s Veracious, successful in the Group 3 Atalanta Stakes on her latest outing and twice placed in Group 1 company, while Marco Botti will be represented by his Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes winner, Aljazzi.
Karl Burke, trainer of Laurens, said:
“Laurens looks to be in great form and is spot on physically – her weight is almost identical to when she left the yard for Leopardstown to run in the Matron. Her coat is in perfect condition and I am very happy with her.”
“There are no indications whatsoever that the long season is taking its toll. We purposely gave her a midsummer break after the Diane to avoid that with her autumn campaign in mind.”
“She has run at Newmarket twice before, winning a Group 1 and finishing second in a Classic, so the straight mile clearly suits her. That said, she handles bends well – she has won both right-handed and left-handed – and is very well balanced, I don’t think the type of track comes into it with her.”
“There is a bit of rain forecast prior to race time so conditions should be perfect for her.”
“A lot depends on what happens on Saturday but, all things being equal, there is every chance she will have another run this year. She could go to QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot [on 20th October] or the Matron was a ‘Win And You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup – those are her options.”
“Having a horse of mine bidding for a fifth Group 1 is not a position I really thought about at the start of my career. It’s fantastic to finally be getting hold of this sort of horse and I just hope that it continues.”