Burke's stable star Laurens digs deep to claim her second Group One victory

Laurens and jockey PJ McDonaldLaurens and jockey PJ McDonald
Laurens and jockey PJ McDonald
Laurens was made to work hard for the second Group One win of her career in The Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary at ParisLongchamp.

Sent off the odds-on favourite on the back of her excellent second in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket, it took every yard of the 10 furlongs to enable Laurens to come out on top.

PJ McDonald attempted to make all on the Karl Burke-trained filly, but she looked a sitting duck a furlong out as Andre Fabre’s Flowrider and the Freddy Head-trained With You threw down their challenges. It was to Leyburn-based Laurens’s credit, though, that she stuck her neck out and battled all the way to the line, coming out on top in a photo.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Over in Ireland, Ken Condon and Jessica Harrington both enjoyed a weekend to remember as they claimed their respective first Classic victories at the Curragh.

Condon was the star of the show on Saturday as his Romanised sprang a 25-1 surprise in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Shane Foley, who was winning his second Classic after taking the 1,000 Guineas two years ago on Jet Setting, brought Romanised with a late run to beat Aidan O’Brien’s US Navy Flag in clear-cut fashion.

Pre-race favourite Elarqam, looking to give Middleham trainer Mark Johnston his first Classic win in seven years, finished a disappointing sixth under Jim Crowley.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But delighted Condon – winning his first race this season and first since last summer – said: “We kept faith in him and he had excuses at Naas on his comeback.

“He worked the best he’s worked all spring last Tuesday. We knew we were a long shot coming in here, but I felt he was going to run a big race.

“I’m in a bit of shock and it will be a few days before it sinks in.

“It’s just amazing to win a Classic. It’s all I wanted to do when I entered racing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It’s a very select club and to actually step into that club feels like you are walking through special doors to be considered one of those.”

Mick Channon’s Opal Tiara (10-1) downed O’Brien’s Hydrangea in the Lanwades Stud Stakes in what was the final run of her career as she is in foal to Churchill.

The rest of Saturday’s card was dominated by O’Brien with Fairyland (4-1) winning the Marble Hill Stakes and the Australian import Merchant Navy (9-2) looking a top-class prospect in the Greenlands Stakes.

O’Brien hit the Group One mark on Sunday with Lancaster Bomber trumping his better-fancied stablemate Cliffs Of Moher in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, the day belonged to Harrington who sent out Alpha Centauri to victory in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Winner of some of the biggest races in the jumping sphere, including last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Harrington was realising a long-held ambition.

She said: “It’s fantastic – I’ve finally got the Classic.

“I’ve been second and third and the horses have always run really well, but this is dream come true for me to win a Classic.

“It’s almost as good as winning a Gold Cup!

“To win a race like this is absolutely fantastic. I’m just waiting for the Ascot winner now.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Malton trainer Richard Fahey’s Sands Of Mali is also Ascot-bound for the Commonwealth Cup after a thrilling battle with Invincible Army in the Sandy Lane.

A rematch between that pair is on the cards in Berkshire next month.

Platinum Warrior boosted the Derby claims of Hazapour when running out a clear-cut winner of the Airlie Stud Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh.

Only fourth behind Dermot Weld’s Epsom hope in the Derrinstown Derby Trial, he landed this Group Three with the minimum of fuss.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Michael Halford’s Galileo colt could be called the winner some way out and the 7-2 chance beat Latrobe by two and a quarter lengths with Harvestfortheworld third.

Shane Foley was on board, 24 hours on from winning the 2,000 Guineas on Romanised.

Star sprinter Battaash made a winning start to his four-year-old campaign in a close finish to the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock.

Battaash (10-11 favourite) was not the best away, but made up ground with the stands rail to help, although he was on the opposite side of the course to Kachy, who set a blistering pace on the far side ahead of Just Glamorous.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Last year’s Abbaye hero showed his class as he hit the front in the final furlong under Dane O’Neill, but Charlie Hills’s charge was challenged late by Aidan O’Brien’s Washington DC, who snatched second spot from Kachy.

Connections of Kachy see no reason why the sprinter cannot do himself justice in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Tom Dascombe’s five-year-old showed trademark early speed in the Temple Stakes at Haydock on Saturday and was only beaten a neck into third place.

Kachy, who had previously won a sprint at Chester by nine lengths, will now head to the Royal meeting, where he is likely to renew rivalry with Battaash.

Owner Dave Lowe tweeted: “I don’t see any reason why Kachy can’t be competitive in the Kings Stand #RoyalAscot as long as he comes out of the race this week bouncing again we will go there!”