Alpha Centauri Looks Unstoppable in Matron Stakes
There are no certainties in racing, but if #1 Alpha Centauri is beaten in Saturday’s Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown, it will count as a monumental upset, because on paper Alpha Centauri looks absolutely unstoppable.Over the one-mile distance of the Matron, Alpha Centauri has been nothing less than a beast this season. The daughter of Mastercraftsman has rattled off four straight Group 1 wins over this distance, cruising to one seemingly effortless triumph after another in such prestigious events as the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh, the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, and the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville.
Four races, four racetracks, four victories. Alpha Centauri has already earned a “Win and You’re In” berth to the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I), an invitation that her connections seem planning to accept, and should she win the Matron Stakes she’ll secure the option of a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf as well.
In terms of Racing Post Ratings, Alpha Centauri doesn’t have anything to worry about on Saturday. The best rating achieved by any of her six rivals is a 114; Alpha Centauri has casually posted 124s in her last three starts. She has not been remotely challenged in her last four starts, and she had no difficulty defeating older male rivals last time out, including the next-out Group 1 winner Recoletos. In short, all this is a way of saying that I don’t expect Alpha Centauri to be beaten in the Matron Stakes.
Of course, a win bet at a short price won’t generate much of a profit, so I’ll attempt to increase the payoff by playing her in a straight exacta with #5 Laurens. This talented three-year-old failed to stay 1 ½ miles in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) last time out, but Laurens is a three-time Group 1 winner over shorter distances and won the bet365 Fillies’ Mile (Eng-I) going a flat mile at Newmarket last October. The cutback in distance should be beneficial for this consistent filly, who had never finished out of the exacta prior to her run in the Yorkshire Oaks.
I’ll also endeavor to hit the trifecta by including the Group 1-winning Aidan O’Brien-trained fillies #2 Clemmie (third behind Alpha Centauri in the Falmouth Stakes) and #4 Happily (who came home third behind the favorite in the Irish 1,000 Guineas) for second and third place:
$15 exacta: 1 with 5 $2.50 trifecta: 1 with 2,4,5 with 2,4,5 ($15)