Cotter hands Matilda Picotte Newmarket Challenge

Matilda Picotte is likely to return to Newmarket for next month’s Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Challenge Stakes following her impressive victory at Doncaster last week.

Kieran Cotter’s star filly won a Listed race on the Rowley Mile at the end of her juvenile campaign and returned to Headquarters to finish third in the 1000 Guineas in May.

The three-year-old notched her first win of the season when dominating her rivals in the Group Three Sceptre Stakes on Sunday – and while a possible trip to France for the Prix de la Foret was mooted by Cotter afterwards, she is set to stick to more familiar surroundings on October 13.

“The plan is to go to the Challenge Stakes in Newmarket. She’s had two runs there, winning the Bosra Sham and finishing third in the Guineas, so that’s where we’ll probably head,” Cotter confirmed.

“The race in France (Prix de la Foret) is on Sunday week and she’s had two runs in a fortnight now already, so we’ll let her recover from that.

“She was third in the Lowther in York last season when the ground was on the quick side, but in an ideal world we’d prefer a bit of ease in the ground. I’m sure at this time of year we’ll get that.”

Cotter revealed a decision on Matilda Picotte’s long-term future will be made after her next run.

He added: “It’d be nice (to keep her in training next year), (but) the plan all along was to sell at the end of the year at the mares’ sale.

“Things can change depending on how things go, but we said all along that you probably wouldn’t see the best of her until the backend of this year.

“Without a doubt I’d say her performance last Sunday was her best run to date. Interestingly, someone was saying to me the other day she actually ran the first five furlongs faster than the winner of the five-furlong Listed race afterwards (Rogue Lightning), and she’d still two furlongs to run. That kind of puts it in perspective a little.

“She’s an exciting horse to have for a small yard.”

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