Clover eyeing Matron mission for Rogue Millennium

Having provided Tom Clover with a first Royal Ascot success earlier in the season, Rogue Millennium will attempt to break new ground once again when she heads to Leopardstown during the Irish Champions Festival.

Neither Clover or owners the Rogues Gallery have ever had a runner in Ireland, but that will all change when their star filly bids for Group One glory in the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes.

The daughter of Dubawi has been an ultra-consistent performer this term and having successfully dropped back to a mile at the Royal meeting, she will continue to ply her trade over that distance despite failing to figure in her most recent outing in Deauville.

Her handler is under no illusion about the task at hand, with possible rivals including Dermot Weld’s Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Tahiyra.

However, Clover has been encouraged by what he has seen on the gallops and is hoping she can hit the frame in her latest big-race objective.

He said: “We’ve got her in three races and at the moment she’s in really good form and we’re looking at going for the Matron. Fingers crossed for a smooth run and there is a good chance she will line up at Leopardstown.

“She’s been terrific for the Rogues Gallery, who have been massive supporters of the yard and it would be nice if she can continue the journey we’ve been on so far.

“It will be nice if we can pick up some Group One black type, that would be terrific, but if she doesn’t then she owes us nothing, she has been an absolute superstar.

“She seems in very good form. It’s very hard to get a Group One, they are obviously very competitive, but she’s been training nicely so hopefully she has a squeak.”

September could prove a big month for the Newmarket-based handler and the Rogues Gallery syndicate as another of their charges, Rogue Lightning, is on course for a step up in class at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival.

The son of Kodiac was placed at Listed level as a juvenile before losing his way slightly, but has been transformed since being gelded and dropping back to the minimum distance, winning his last two starts.

Now up to a rating of 107, Clover is eyeing a run at Listed level in the Betfred Scarbrough Stakes on September 17, while inspired by Live In The Dream’s shock Nunthorpe triumph recently, the Kremlin House trainer has handed the three-year-old a lofty big-race entry for ParisLongchamp later in the autumn.

“He’s a horse we have always liked and the owners have been very patient with him,” continued Clover.

“He lost his way a bit at the back-end of last year and the early part of this year, but gelding him and dropping him back to five furlongs seems to have really helped.

“He is up to 107 now, so it is certainly worth having a crack at stakes company and I would imagine we might look at the Scarbrough Stakes, all being well.

“It makes sense to go back to where he has been victorious and hopefully he can remain in good form and go and run a nice race again at Doncaster.

“I did actually stick him in the Abbaye because everyone saw the Nunthorpe winner (Live In The Dream) was rated 107 and we’ve got the same mark. He’s a really quick horse, so it’s nice to have the option.”

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