Alpha Centauri has arguably been one of, if not the standout performer of the Flat Season this year, with a long list of valuable Group One prizes to her name.
Yesterday, her career was brought to an upsetting end after she sustained a chip in her fetlock having finished second to Karl Burke trained Laurens, in the Matron Stakes on Saturday at Leopardstown.
Sent off a long-odds-on favourite, it was apparent in the final furlong that she took a bad step and faltered, before it was later reported she was clinically abnormal.
Trained by Jessica Harrington - better known for her NH horses such as Gold Cup hero Sizing John, has been terrifically represented on the flat by Centauri, who won four Group Ones this year.
She began her campaign with her seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown back in April, where she finished a distance 10th of 13. She was expected to come on for the run and was sent off a 12/1 shot in the Irish equivalent of the 1000 Guineas. Racing in mid-division, she was brought out by Colm O’Donoghue and kept on strongly to win by 1 3/4 lengths in the final 100 yards. It was a very smart performance.
Alpha Centauri was then sent to Royal Ascot - where last year she was only beaten a neck by Main Edition in the Albany Stakes. She took on better fillies in the Coronation Stakes, but stamped her authority on them by cruising to a six length victory, beating the likes of Threading and English 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.
In 2017, we discovered fan favourites such as Cracksman and Enable - both from John Gosden’s yard, and this season we were missing a certain star. But, Alpha Centauri blew her opponents away in a very special performance.
She smashed her opposition once more a few weeks later at Newmarket’s July meeting in the Falmouth Stakes, before dispatching some of Europe’s best in the Jacques le Marois in France. She beat a French horse called Recoletos by 2 lengths - who was fourth to Cracksman in the Champion Stakes last year.
Recoletos surely carries the best form going into the QE2 on Champions Day in October, which Alpha Centauri was already a short price for prior to this weekend.
However, her career has been brought to a close after an unfortunate injury at the Irish Champions weekend, with her owners paying a glowing tribute to their stable-star.
She won the Niarchos family over £1,200,000 in prize money and also brought her trainer Jessica Harrington, her first Classic winner, her first Royal Ascot winner and her first French winner. All in all, she owes not only the owners, but the trainer nothing in return.