Sunday 11 December 2016

Aidan O'Brien sets sights on QEII with Alice Springs after Matron glory

Published 10/09/2016 | 20:21

Alice Springs and Ryan Moore win the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown
Alice Springs and Ryan Moore win the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown

Alice Springs is set to be aimed at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot after mowing down her rivals in the last 100 yards to win the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes in tremendous style at Leopardstown.

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Ryan Moore was happy to hold the 5-1 chance at the rear of the field as Creggs Pipes made the running from Jet Setting.

Frankie Dettori brought Persuasive with a strong challenge, but had no answer to the Aidan O'Brien-trained Alice Springs, who came with a undeniable run in the centre of the course to win by an emphatic three and a quarter lengths.

Persuasive was a game second in her first try at Group One level, with Qemah, the French-trained 11-8 favourite, a length and a quarter away in third.

Alice Springs was returning to form after disappointing in the Prix Rothschild won by Qemah in Deauville.

O'Brien said: "It was a bit of a disaster in France. She went and it was shifty, patchy ground in Deauville. Ryan knew she wasn't going to be involved so he just minded her.

"She's a very good filly. You saw what she did in the Falmouth as well. She has a lot of speed.

"She quickened up very well. She's very pacey."

He added: "There is a chance she could go to the Queen Elizabeth II (October 15). She might get further some day but she has a lot of speed.

"She's made for the Breeders' Cup on fast ground. We'll look at the Breeders' Cup Mile or something like that. She was a little unlucky in the Breeders' Cup last year.

"She's hardy and she could do both, but it depends on what the ground is like at Ascot."

Moore said: "She's a high-class filly. I felt she was really putting it together when she won at Newamarket and Deauville had been watered and she's run two bad races there now, to be fair.

"When she gets a good, hard even pace, she's a very good filly. I believed she was good enough to pick them up if she was back to her best and she was."

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