Matilda Picotte makes all for Challenge honours

Matilda Picotte made all the running to claim the Thoroughbred Industry Employee Awards Challenge Stakes at Newmarket.

Kieran Cotter’s enthusiastic three-year-old has some smart form figures on the Rowley Mile having won a Listed heat late last season at the track before returning to finish third in the 1000 Guineas behind Mawj and Tahiyra earlier in the year.

Returning to Newmarket on the back of an all-the-way success in the Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster, it was a case of more of the same in this Group Two event as Oisin Murphy allowed his willing partner to stride on.

The riders of chief rivals Audience and Chindit were at pains to close the gap as Murphy allowed Matilda Picotte to fill her lungs entering the dip and although the pack did close slightly in the latter stages of the contest, Matilda Picotte had enough in the tank to finish full of running and two and three-quarter lengths clear of fellow Irish raider Lord Massusus.

Cotter said: “I was a bit concerned she might falter in the last 100 yards, but she’s so much pace and she’s so genuine and they have to work hard to get to her.

“Her last couple of runs have been outstanding. I’ve been saying to the lads (owners) for a while that you wouldn’t see the best of her until the backend of her three-year-old season and she’s just got better and better.

“Oisin said today he was going too fast and she was aggressive early, but you can’t fight her, he just lets her roll and she’s incredibly tough.

“It’s fantastic as we wouldn’t have 20 horses, but we’re showing that if we have the right one, we can turn up on the day and take the money. It’s fantastic to be able to come to a racecourse like this and compete – we’re privileged to have her.

“I don’t know if she’ll run again this year. There is the Breeders’ Cup, who knows?

“There’ll be a lot of races for her next year, if we have her. I think she has an entry in the sales, but the lads were saying if she won well today they might keep her.

“She’s a horse of a lifetime and it’s been a fairy tale for all the lads.”

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