KARL BURKE says stable star Laurens is “spot on” as she bids to add to her impressive Group One tally tomorrow.
The three-year-old filly, who is owned by John Dance, will face nine rivals in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
Victory would be the horse’s fifth at the highest level and come less than a month after she made all under jockey Danny Tudhope, who was replacing the injured PJ McDonald, to land the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
And it would see Laurens equal the five Group One wins accrued by Mark Johnston’s Attraction, the most successful Yorkshire-trained horse on the Flat in recent years. Her illustrious roll of honour also included the Sun Chariot Stakes (2004) and Matron Stakes (2005).
“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,” said Leyburn-based Burke.
“There are no indications whatsoever that the long season is taking its toll. We purposely gave her a midsummer break after the Diane (French Oaks) to avoid that with her autumn campaign in mind.
“She has run at Newmarket twice before, winning a Group One 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.”
As for future plans, Burke said: “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 (October 20) or the Breeders’ Cup – those are her options. Having a horse of mine bidding for a fifth Group One 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.”
Those in opposition to Laurens include Billesdon Brook who beat the Yorkshire horse in the 1000 Guineas at the beginning of May. Her trainer Richard Hannon hope a return to Newmarket will help her bounce back to winning ways after defeats in the Coronation Stakes and the 10-furlong Nassau at Goodwood.
Andre Fabre supplemented the Coolmore-owned Wind Chimes earlier in the week while a resurgent Aidan O’Brien is represented by Happily, a dual Group One winner last season, I Can Fly and Clemmie.
Veracious will take her chance for Sir Michael Stoute, Royal Ascot winner Aljazzi goes for Marco Botti with Martyn Meade’s Wilamina and Roger Varian’s Altyn Orda completing the field.
James Doyle expects to return to action today after giving up his rides at Lingfield and Chelmsford yesterday.
Doyle, who has enjoyed a tremendous season after teaming up with Skipton-born William Haggas, is due to ride the brilliant Sea Of Class in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.
Doyle is due to do his minimum weight of 8st 9lb on Sea Of Class as he looks to add to victories in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks on the same filly who has been one of the stars of the year.
The field is headed by defending champion Enable, Frankie Dettori’s mount.