Alpha Centauri heads the market with good reason and is Horsebetting.com experts’ confident pick among their 2018 Matron Stakes betting tips for the 1m Group 1 fillies and mares feature at Leopardstown on Saturday, 15 September. Laurens looks most likely to chase her home now dropped back in trip, while Happily may be the pick of the Aidan O’Brien trio and is an each-way alternative. Read more about this valuable contest on day one of Irish Champions Weekend in our 2018 Matron Stakes betting tips preview.Alpha Centauri a worthy favourite for five-timer in MatronIt’s impossible to oppose in-form filly Alpha Centauri on all known form, so she is a worthy favourite for the 1m Group 1 Matron Stakes on day one of Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown this Saturday (17:25). Trained by Jessica Harrington, the three-year-old has won her last four starts – all at the highest level – and is 13lbs or more clear of her six opponents here on official ratings.
That means the field has got a mountain to climb on official ratings and leaves Alpha Centauri as the banker bet of this prestigious two-day meeting. While her juvenile career yielded just a sole win at Listed level from four starts, this daughter of Mastercraftsman has taken her form to dizzying heights this season.
While Alpha Centauri clearly didn’t go on the testing ground of her reappearance run over 7f at this venue, the return to a sounder surface has seen her excel. A strong last 100 yards next time up landed her Classic honours in the Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh and she was then even more impressive when bolting up by six lengths in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Alpha Centauri also landed the Falmouth Stakes during Newmarket’s July Festival readily and then made a successful raid across the Channel in France when capturing the Prix Jacques le Marois last time out. Those performances make her the standout three-year-old filly in Europe, so she has nothing to fear from plenty who dare re-oppose here.
Although odds-on for this, Alpha Centauri deserves to be and it’s just impossible to see the opposition as playing for anything other than places here. It may not be the most original punt, but she had to headline our 2018 Matron Stakes betting tips as there’s no case for wagering against her.Laurens looks solid forecast choiceThe best of the rest is the Karl Burke trained Laurens, an ultra-tough filly who simply didn’t stay the Yorkshire Oaks trip last time out but is still respected dropping down in distance. Back at 1m, this daughter of Siyouni out of a Cape Cross mare is two from three and the one time she didn’t win, she chased home shock English 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook at Newmarket.
Besides that strong record over this trip, Laurens is a three-time Group 1 victor landing the Prix Saint-Alary and Prix de Diane over in France in real gutsy fashion this season to go with her top-level juvenile success last term. The Yorkshire Oaks apart, she has never finished outside the first two in seven previous career appearances and appeals as the type to respond to that setback at the Ebor Festival.
Regular rider PJ McDonald is injured, so Danny Tudhope takes over in the saddle. A repeat of virtually any performance but last time out and Laurens looks a solid forecast bet for second place behind Alpha Centauri or an each-way alternative, but bookmakers will only pay two places with just seven runners.Happily another alternativeAidan O’Brien has won the last two Matron Stakes renewals and has three in this year’s race. The pick of those looks to be Happily on form behind the first two in the betting, so she is a nominal tricast pick or another each-way option if punters think the Laurens bubble has burst.
This daughter of Galileo placed third in both 1000 Guineas earlier in the campaign, beaten just over two lengths on either side of the Irish Sea. Happily was just half-a-length behind Laurens at Newmarket and beaten the same distance again when fourth and re-opposing in the Prix de Diane.
Although then outpaced a crucial stage as a 4 1/2 lengths fifth to leading Irish Champion Stakes fancy Roaring Lion in the Coral-Eclipse over 1m 2f at Sandown last time out, connections have been savvy enough to give her a break since. That and a 50 per cent strike rate at this venue suggest Happily may have an edge over stablemates Clemmie and Magical, who are admittedly closely matched on ratings.Your Next Bet