KARL BURKE’S assertion that Laurens remained in peak condition was proven as she claimed big-race glory in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.
She claimed her fifth Group One victory by holding off Happily on heavy ground over a mile after Burke’s stable star returned to action just three weeks after winning the Matron Stakes on Irish Champions Weekend.
Danny Tudhope, again deputising for the injured PJ McDonald, was content to go stride for stride with Happily through the early stages and even with a furlong-and-a-half to run, he was still motionless with rivals hard at work.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Happily rallied and Laurens, the 11-4 favourite, only had a head to spare at the line with Roger Varian’s Altyn Orda third.
The Yorkshire Post racing columnist Tudhope said: “She’s been a great spare ride, I’m very grateful to Karl and PJ for putting me forward.
“She was probably a bit fresh and keen today. He (Donnacha O’Brien on Happily) was trying to steady it up, but I thought I’d go on at my own pace.
“She’s done it well and is very tough. I was hoping she’d relax more and she did, she got the job done and is a super filly. PJ is hoping to be back for the Breeders’ Cup if she goes there.”
Leyburn trainer Burke said: “I might have been cursing the rain if she’d got collared. Danny said on that ground she was changing her legs, dancing and hopping around.
“She’s a great filly. Two out, I thought she was going to bolt up and she just needed the line in the last 100 yards.
“She was on the go before Christmas, just gently back in working towards the Guineas. She had a nice break after the Prix Diane and that was the best thing we did all year.
“We’ve got that scalp back off Billesdon Brook (1000 Guineas winner who finished fifth).
“She could be supplemented for the QEII, she’s already in the Champion Stakes and there’s two options at the Breeders’ Cup so we’ve got a bit to discuss and the main thing is to make sure she’s A1.”
It was exactly five months since the filly kicked off her campaign by finishing second in the 1000 Guineas over this course and distance, and she has been campaigned exclusively at the highest level all year.
Successive Group One wins in the Prix Saint-Alary and the Prix de Diane in France were followed by a disappointing first run over a mile-and-a-half in the Yorkshire Oaks.
However, she got back on the winning trail when inflicting a shock defeat on the now-retired Alpha Centauri in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown three weeks ago.