Horse racing - Electra Niarchos, Colm O'Donoghue, Jessica Harrington

Alpha And Agent To Clash In France

7 months ago

Outstanding three-year-old filly Alpha Centauri, winner of three Group 1’s already this season, is to take on  the colts for the first at Deauville on Sunday in the Prix Jacques le Marois, where one of her main rivals will be the shock Queen Anne Stakes winner, Accidental Agent.

One of Europe’s top all-age mile races, the French contest has attracted Jessica Harrington’s flying filly who followed her win in the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at the Curragh with a power-packed six-length romp in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. The daughter of Mastercraftsman completed her Group 1 hattrick when easily disposing of quality opposition in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket’s July Festival and is reported to be in rude health ahead of her trip to the continent.

“The filly is in good form and all being well she’ll run on Sunday,” confirmed Alan Cooper, long-time racing manager to Alpha Centauri’s owners, The Niarchos Family. “Jessie is very happy with her. Let’s hope the weather stays favourable. There are showers forecast, but how much rain they’ll get we’ll have to wait and see. It will be her first time taking on colts, but is too early to speculate which horses she’ll be up against.”

Alpha Centauri is a rock solid 5/4 favourite with Paddy Power to make it four in a row this term.

For her part, Eve Johnson Houghton is happy to take on the star filly with Accidental Agent who produced such a great display to stun punters at odds of 33/1 in the Queen Anne Stakes. This time her in-form four-year-old colt can be backed at 11/2 with Betfair.

“Hopefully Alpha Centauri will go a nice, decent pace and we’ve got something to aim at, and we either get there or we don’t. It’s quite straightforward,” explained the Blewbury-based handler who has enjoyed such a fine season. “We don’t have to worry about what we’re going to follow. She likes to go forward, we like to hold up, and one of us will win, hopefully. Group One form is Group One form.”

Paul Alster

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.