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Confidence grows in Alpha Centauri as Deauville misses huge storm

Alpha Centauri is primed for Sunday's Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville and even the heavens appear to be on the side of Ireland’s superstar filly as she prepares to take on the colts for the first time, after a huge storm that shattered windows in the region missed the course.

Winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, Coronation Stakes and Falmouth Stakes in scintillating fashion this year, Alpha Centauri is odds-on to add a fourth Group 1 to her haul at the weekend in the contest sponsored by her owners the Niarchos family.

Alpha Centauri, picture Liesl King

Her cause has been helped by Deauville avoiding much of the rain that has fallen during storms in northern France, with the ground described as good on Wednesday.

Alan Cooper, racing manager for the Niarchos family, said: "The weather has been good up to now at Deauville and they missed a massive storm that hit south of them last night, which threw down hailstones the size of golf balls and broke many windows on the farm.

"I'm told they might get some rain but the ground is expected to be on the fast side of good by the weekend.”

He added: "All is well with Alpha Centauri and taking on the colts was a natural progression after the way she won the Falmouth.”

Confidence behind Alpha Centauri in the betting is backed up by positive vibes from the saddle, with jockey Colm O’Donoghue buzzing with excitement about his mount's prospects.

“She’s been brilliant and done nothing but please us all season,” he said. “She’s in great form and I’m excited and looking forward to what she might do on Sunday.

“She’s an exceptional filly and has taken every Group 1 we’ve put her in with ease. This is another Group 1 and they’re never easy to win, but I’m very grateful to ride such a filly and she fills me with a lot of confidence.”

He added: “We’d love to have nice ground for her – no worse than good – so the rain keeping away would be a help. As the owners sponsor [the race] it’s very close to their hearts. For one of their horses to win it will mean a lot to them, I’m sure.”

Trainer Jessica Harrington reported everything to be fine with her brilliant three-year-old on Wednesday after she was confirmed alongside ten others from the mile Group 1.

She is due to travel across to France on Saturday and her rivals are set to include Prix Rothschild scorer With You and Recoletos, winner of the Prix d’Ispahan this season.

Also making the trip to Deauville are the Ken Condon-trained pair Romanised, who will be partnered by Shane Foley, and Success Days, the mount of Gregory Benoist, while Accidental Agent is bang on course for the contest, according to his trainer Eve Johnson Houghton.

“He’s in good form and is going to run in the Prix Jacques Le Marois this weekend,” she said. “We’ll definitely be looking at running in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes later on as he loves Ascot and he loves the straight mile.”

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