Matrika Returns In The Nell Gwyn

Matrika |


Long absent but certainly not forgotten by the racing intelligentsia, TDN Rising Star Matrika (Ire) (No Nay Never) stages her comeback in a renewal of Newmarket's G3 Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn S. on Wednesday that could yet determine the shape of next month's G1 1000 Guineas. While seen generally as an understudy to Ballydoyle's sidelined Opera Singer (Justify) and other TDN Rising Star Ylang Ylang (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in the Classic picture throughout the winter weeks, there is time for her to emerge as a leading light with this seven-furlong prep sure to provide evidence as to her true merit.

Aidan O'Brien spoke of how Matrika was not inclined to give her all last term and that looked the case despite her winning on debut at The Curragh and in that venue's G2 Airlie Stud S. Runner-up to Porta Fortuna (Ire) (Caravaggio) in Royal Ascot's G3 Albany S. in the interim, she remains one of the budding Rosegreen prospects that could materialise into a top-level performer.

Ryan Moore said, “We didn't see her after that win in July, but the fact that she is here speaks for itself, Aidan has his horses in very good nick and, while she has plenty of speed, I'd have thought she will get the extra furlong here okay.”


Continuing The Sequence?

In general, Charlie Appleby's horses perform to a high level at this Craven meeting and in some ways their performances give a barometer as to what type of season he will have. The yard's leading Guineas hope Dance Sequence (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) has little to prove, having already garnered the important juvenile staging post of the course-and-distance G3 Oh So Sharp S. and she heads into this trial as the hot favourite. “Dance Sequence has done very well over the winter,” Appleby said. “She looks the one to beat again.”

KHK Racing Ltd's True Cyan (Ire) is another daughter of No Nay Never with big upside, being out of the multiple group winner Realtra (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and a course-and-distance winner from the Roger Varian stable. Chris Wall, racing manager to owner Shaikh Khalid, said, “She's wintered well, she's been training satisfactorily, we're hopeful of a positive effort and then we'll take it from there. If you're going to be stakes class, you'll have to be up there competing with them and if not, we'll have to go down another route with her.”


Narkez Tests The Waters As Fabre Descends On Newmarket Again…

Andre Fabre has never made any secret of his regard for the track at Newmarket and it is notable that he ships across Nurlan Bizakov's TDN Rising Star Narkez (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) for the nine-furlong Listed Feilden S. he won with his subsequent G1 Prix du Jockey Club hero Intello (Ger) (Galileo {Ire}) in 2013. He was impressive when handing the well-regarded Supercooled (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) a 6 1/2-length beating in Saint-Cloud's Prix Comrade at a mile last month and that stablemate had been far closer to the recent G3 Prix la Force winner Atlast (Fr) (Farhh {GB}) at Chantilly in October.

“The distance should suit him with the extra furlong, as he is from a family of middle-distance horses and obviously he's in good shape,” Fabre said of the homebred, whose form is also closely linked in with Sunday's G3 Prix de Fontainebleau scorer Ramadan (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}).

“I want to see how he does it because he won easily last time, beating not much, so this will be a good experience for him. If he does well, he's more of a mile-and-a-quarter horse so the Prix du Jockey Club would be a long-term target for him, but I'll be wiser after the race.”

Aidan O'Brien returns with the G3 Zetland S. runner-up Gasper De Lemos (Ire) (Justify), while Godolphin's Kempton novice scorer El Cordobes (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) and the Gredley Family's Zetland third Ambiente Friendly (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) are other fascinating contenders.

Gasper De Lemos's jockey Ryan Moore is aware of the threat of the French raider. “We are happy with him coming into this race, but he will be suited by further down the line and I am always wary of an Andre Fabre horse and his Narkez won very well on his return,” he said.


Rhyme Run Depends On Course Walk…

Also at Newmarket, the older horses get their chance in the nine-furlong G3 Earl of Sefton S., where Karl Burke is pondering whether to let his upwardly-mobile Royal Rhyme (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) take his chance on drying ground. One of the back-end of last season's most improved 3-year-olds, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's Listed Doonside Cup winner was fifth in the G1 Champion S. on his favoured deep surface.

“He's in good shape, but I'd be a bit worried about the ground and if we're not happy with it, he's a possible non-runner,” his trainer said. “If it goes on the firm side, he definitely wouldn't run and really, to be at his best, he wants a bit of soft ground.”

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