Just 24 hours before the mighty Enable bids to create history in France, another superstar filly of the sport bids to bow out with a victory at the top level.
Laurens has amassed a legion of fans during her brilliant racing career and victory in Saturday’s Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes will bring the house down on the Rowley Mile.
Laurens is top price 4/1 to repeat last year’s success in the showpiece one-mile contest and add a remarkable seventh Group 1 prize to her glittering CV, but she has work to do if she is to reverse Matron Stakes’ form with the Iridessa and Hermosa, who both finished ahead of her at Leopardstown last month.
Despite being under par at Leopardstown, Laurens has enjoyed another fine campaign, winning the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville in July, and trainer Karl Burke is full of confidence going into what very much looks like the filly’s final racecourse appearance.
Burke said: “I have been delighted with Laurens since her run in the Matron Stakes. She’s in great form and my daughter, Lucy, who does a lot of the work with her, couldn’t be happier with her.
“She was beaten fair and square last time so it will be interesting to see if she can turn the tables on Iridessa and Hermosa.
“She did come back from Ireland with a little bruise on a corn on her foot, and PJ (McDonald, her jockey) did mention after the race that she was changing her legs more often than usual, so that could have been a factor.
“We have chosen the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes rather than Sunday’s seven-furlong Prix de la Foret at Longchamp because in my opinion she is a miler and PJ is on the same lines. John Dance (her owner) is not so sure and was keener to go to France but has kindly let me have my way and hopefully it is the right decision.
“John points out that it took a course record time and a Group 1 penalty for her to be beaten over seven furlongs at York (in the Group 2 City Of York Stakes) but I feel that, despite her high cruising speed, she just lacks a turn of foot over the shorter trip. She was always flat to the mat at York and the rhythm of races over a mile suits her better.
“As far as I know the Sun Chariot will be her last run, though there is no physical reason why she can’t go on. I joked with John the other day that if he kept her in training next year he could prove us wrong about what is her best trip!
“She has been a privilege to have in the yard and a privilege to train, we’ve been very, very lucky to have her.
“I don’t think I will really appreciate what she has done for us for a while. One thing that struck me was when I found out that, before Frankel came along, the most prolific Group 1 winner in Sir Henry Cecil’s incredible training career was Midday with six wins - that’s the same total as Laurens.”