Ruby Walsh: Only a bad draw can keep Alpha Centauri from Breeders’ Cup glory

Ruby Walsh believes that only bad luck, stands between Jessica Harrington’s star filly Alpha Centauri winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile…


Last Sunday Alpha Centauri won her fourth consecutive Group 1 when triumphing in the Prix Jacques le Marois and our own Ruby Walsh is a big fan of the giant grey ahead of the stateside showcase at Churchill Downs on November 3rd.

“If anything, Alpha Centauri looks to be getting faster. That’s encouraging for her going forward and the speed she showed on Sunday would suggest that the Breeders’ Cup Mile wouldn’t be a worry for her,” said Ruby about the filly, who currently priced at 15/8 for race.

She looks like she has the pace for that. If she gets a reasonable draw in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, you’d love to be on her.”

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And like with Sea The Stars in 2009, Alpha Centauri is likely to attract a huge crowd at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend on September 15th when she lines up in the Matron Stakes.

“For Irish racegoers, it will be great if she does run in the Matron Stakes because there won’t be that many chances to see her. She did win the Irish 1,000 Guineas on the start of this run, but she’s way more ‘box-office’ now than she was then. It would be great to see her take part on Irish Champions weekend at Leopardstown as she’s the best of her generation.” Ruby added.

The Kildare man also shared his views on Willie Mullins’ possible runners in the race which stops a nation, the Melbourne Cup on November 6th. Mullins has yet to win Australia’s most prestigious race but Walsh reported that the champion trainer will again hope to send a strong team – which may very well be headed by Stratum.

“Stratum has to win the Ebor, which is a qualification race, or be placed in a Group race along with getting himself a penalty to get into the Melbourne Cup. I wouldn’t be certain that he’ll get into the Ebor but he’s in really good order,” said Ruby .

“Limini, Gustavus Vassa, Chelkar, Thomas Hobson and Whiskey Sour are all horses who could be the right type for a Melbourne Cup too, but they all need to go up in the ratings to get into the race.  At the minute, not too many of the will be getting into the race, but that’s the way the Melbourne Cup is.

“If you don’t have good recent form or black type form, it means that you don’t necessarily to a run in the race. It’s the race that stops a nation, but it has very little dead wood in it as it’s very difficult to get into,” he said of the qualification system.

“With the exception of the English Grand National, our racing is based on ratings and current form doesn’t come into it. Maybe that is something to be looked at for some of the big races or more valuable handicaps here that current form comes into it in terms of getting a run in the race,” said racing’s top jockey.

“With Stradivarius and Torcedor likely to go at it in the Lonsdale Cup, I reckon we’re going to give that race a wide berth in terms of gearing horses up for the Melbourne Cup. The Irish St Leger, the Irish St Leger Trial, the Doncaster Cup and a race in Deauville at the end of the month will be of interest for us.”

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