Irish Guineas Glory For Mastercraftsman’s Alpha Centauri

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5th at CUR, Gr. Stk, €400,000G1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas (8f)Winner: Alpha Centauri (Ire), f, 3 by Mastercraftsman (Ire)

Alpha Centauri | Racing Post

By Tom Frary

Labelled a TDN Rising Star due to her exciting early juvenile form, the Niarchos Family’s Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) picked the right stage to mount a serious comeback after some worrying reversals when annexing Sunday’s G1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh. Attracting support into 12-1 despite the latest evidence of her current state being a 10th placing in the G3 Ballylinch Stud 1000 Guineas Trial over seven furlongs on heavy ground at Leopardstown Apr. 14, the imposing grey left that well behind to become the third European mile Classic winner in four generations of her esteemed Niarchos dynasty. While lacking the dash of her second and third dams East of the Moon (Private Account) and Miesque (Nureyev), the homebred knows how to gallop and that was certainly tested with another War Front in Could It Be Love opening up a sizeable advantage which only she proved able to bridge. Getting to that huge article from Ballydoyle only in the final yards, Alpha Centauri had 1 3/4 lengths in hand of the 33-1 shot, with 3/4 of a length back to the 5-4 favourite Happily (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in third. The third of four British and Irish Guineas in 2018 to be won by a horse trading in double figures, she was not surprising connections. “She did a very nice bit of work at Leopardstown two weeks ago and we thought we had her spot-on,” trainer Jessie Harrington said. “She’s a big mare who is quite heavy and on soft ground she just sinks into it. This has to be right up there, it’s fantastic.”
For a filly of her size, Alpha Centauri was quick off the blocks at two and handed the subsequent G3 Anglesey S. winner and G1 Phoenix S. third Actress (Ire) (Declaration of War) two beatings in the space of three weeks by a combined margin of 7 1/2 lengths over six furlongs at Naas. The latter came in the often-informative staging post of the Listed Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint S. and she subsequently went to Royal Ascot a hot favourite but found the French raider Different League (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) a neck too strong in the G3 Albany S. Her faithful were undeterred afterwards and backed her into favouritism for the G1 Moyglare Stud S., but she could only finish fifth behind Happily on ground with considerable ease in it and by the time she had trailed in the 1000 Guineas Trial it was clear that those conditions played against her.
Always comfortable travelling towards the rear under Colm O’Donoghue as Could It Be Love strode ever clear of the market leaders Soliloquy (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Happily, Alpha Centauri was not panicked into action despite the yawning gap to that half-sister to Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) who had shown up so well for so long when eighth in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches a fortnight previously. With everything in the main group working hard approaching the final quarter mile, Alpha Centauri began to undergo the stealthy gathering in of the runaway leader and by the time she reached the 100-yard marker it was clear that she was going to be on top. Despite a late leftward drift, which could have been the considerable effort taking its toll, she was firmly on top at the line. “She’s always given us a good feel and although I was a little bit disappointed with her run in the trial, the ground was very soft and she was drawn out very wide so I just had to ride her as she was comfortable,” O’Donoghue said. “She just got tired in my hands, but everyone has been very happy with her at home since and she worked well at Leopardstown so you can only go there and approach it confidently. Aidan’s never stop–they are fit and hard and well and run to the line, but my filly got very comfortable at halfway which gave me a lot of confidence even before we made the change. When I asked her to pick up, she ran hard to the line.”
Alpha Centauri, who is bound for the June 22 G1 Coronation S. at Royal Ascot, is out of the unraced Alpha Lupi (Ire) (Rahy), whose best performer prior to her was Ballydoyle’s Listed Golden Fleece S. winner and G2 Royal Lodge S. runner-up Tenth Star (Ire) (Dansili {GB}). The aforementioned East of the Moon also captured the G1 Prix de Diane and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois as well as the Pouliches before producing the G3 Prix d’Arenberg scorer Moon Driver (Mr. Prospector) and the MSP dam of the G3 Horrix Hill S.-winning sire Evasive (GB) (Elusive Quality) and last year’s G3 Brigadier Gerard S. winner Autocratic (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The third dam, the champion Miesque, is also the second dam of Sunday’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club protagonist Study of Man (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) who after his recent G2 Prix Greffulhe success will trade as one of the leading hopes for that Chantilly Classic. The legendary 1000 Guineas and dual Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine is of course the dam of the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains-winning champion sire Kingmambo (Mr. Prospector), with other luminaries Rumplestiltskin (Ire) (Danehill) and her daughter Tapestry (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Karakontie (Jpn) (Bernstein), Amanee (Aus) (Pivotal {GB}) and Real Steel (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) among her descendants. Alpha Lupi’s 2-year-old filly by So You Think (NZ) is named Etoile Filante (GB), while she also has a yearling filly by Sea the Moon (Ger).

Sunday, Curragh, Ireland
TATTERSALLS IRISH 1000 GUINEAS-G1, €400,000, Curragh, 5-27, 3yo, 8fT, 1:38.71, g/f.
1–ALPHA CENTAURI (IRE), 126, f, 3, by Mastercraftsman (Ire)
1st Dam: Alpha Lupi (Ire), by Rahy
2nd Dam: East of the Moon, by Private Account
3rd Dam: Miesque, by Nureyev
1ST GROUP WIN; 1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O/B-Niarchos Family (IRE); T-Jessica Harrington; J-Colm O’Donoghue. €233,000. Lifetime Record: GSP-Eng, 6-3-1-0, $356,294. *1/2 to Tenth Star (Ire) (Dansili {GB}), SW & GSP-Ire, GSP-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Could It Be Love, 126, f, 3, War Front–Playa Maya, by Arch. O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Playa Maya Syndicate (KY); T-Aidan O’Brien. €80,000.3–Happily (Ire), 126, f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–You’resothrilling, by Storm Cat. O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Orpendale & Chelston Ireland (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €40,000.Margins: 1 3/4, 3/4, 1HF. Odds: 12.00, 33.00, 1.25.
Also Ran: Soliloquy (GB), Yulong Gold Fairy (GB), Lightening Quick (GB), Who’s Steph (Ire), Most Gifted, Clemmie (Ire), Scriobh Nua (Ire), Chiara Luna, Alghabrah (Ire), Uluru Park (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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