News

Back to articles

Champions Series Stars To Stud: Laurens

21 Nov 2019

In the second of a new series, we focus on the six-time Group 1 winner who won at the highest level in England, Ireland and France

John Dance, owner of Laurens with her at Karl Burke stables in Coverham, North Yorkshire. Pic Steve Davies/Racingfotos.com

Horse: LAURENS

Trainer: Karl Burke. Regular jockey: P J McDonald.

Races: 17. Wins: 8. Group 1 wins: 6. Prize-money: £1,765,488

Form in Champions Series races: 261267. Official rating: 116.

Overview:

Laurens developed into one of the best and most popular fillies in training –six of her eight career wins being in Group 1 races. It did not pay to get involved in tight tussles with her –none of her victories being achieved by more than three-quarters of a length.

The daughter of exciting French stallion Siyouni was bought by owner John Dance for £220,000 as a yearling and he named her after his daughter.

As a two-year-old she scooped the Group 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster before holding off the late lunge of September by a nose in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.

She picked up from where she left off on her return in 2018 when beating all bar Billesdon Brook in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas before winning successive Group 1 races over ten furlongs in France – the Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary at Paris-Longchamp, by a short head, and then the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) by a neck.

Laurens seemed less effective next time when stepped up to a mile and a half in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. A bit keen early on, she faded to finish sixth behind Sea Of Class and never ran over so far again

The tenacious filly bounced back with a bang back over a mile in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown – securing her fourth Group 1 triumph when defeating superstar miler Alpha Centauri.

Three weeks later she was back in the winner’s enclosure, making almost all and winning the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket by a head from Happily.

Kept in training in 2019, she showed all her ability and spirit was intact by chasing home Mustashry in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes before later scooping the Prix Rothschild at Deauville – her sixth Group 1 triumph,

It proved to be her last success. She was not at her best when defending her Matron Stakes crown, finishing fourth, or when seventh in the Sun Chariot, but by then she had long established herself as among the most prolific Group One-winning fillies in recent years.

Finest moment:

Her victory in the Coolmore Fastnet Rock Matron Stakes at Leopardstown in September 2018 was perhaps the pick of her six Group 1 wins.

Many assumed the race was the mercy of the brilliant Alpha Centauri, who was 14lb clear on ratings, and she went off the 30/100 favourite.

Laurens was 10/1 but had not read the script with Danny Tudhope, deputising for the injured JP McDonald, dictating the gallop.

Alpha Centauri already had a big battle on her hands when she suffered an injury in the closing stages. Laurens stayed on typically resolutely to beat her by three-quarters of a length.

Clemmie, a Group 1 winner at two, was third, with the top-class Magical beaten a total of three lengths into fourth.

What they said about her:

“There are not many colts or fillies that win a Group One at two, three and four – so for her to do that is fantastic.

“I think the two (races) that stand out are winning the Prix de Diane and the Matron last year – which was fantastic. If you asked me for one, the Diane would probably be it – because it was my first Classic.”

Karl Burke after announcing Laurens had run her final race

“The chances of us getting a horse like her again are slim, and there are races this year that only she can take us to, so having flip-flopped all year about what to do it became an easy decision – when will we get to go to the Lockinge or Queen Anne again?

“From a breeding perspective, it is so hard to compete with Coolmore, Darley, Juddmonte or whoever – so if we are selling them our best breeding stock we are diminishing or chances even more.

“She may breed nothing, but if she does I’d rather they were running in our colours. We’ll keep the first foal, be it a colt or filly, and from then onwards we’ll keep the fillies to breed from and keep the family going and sell the colts.”

Owner John Dance before the start of her final season

What should we expect from his offspring?:

“She may breed nothing” owner Dance has admitted. But it will be disappointing if that proves the case.

Laurens has just about everything going for her as a broodmare, being an imposing mare blessed with a willing attitude, good temperament and stacks of ability.

Her dam was a winner over as far as 1m6f but her sire, Siyouni, gained his Group 1 success over 7f and was best t up to a mile.

Laurens met them pretty much halfway and was best at up to 1m2f. She also seemed effective on all ground.

Like her sire, she was a Group 1 winner as a two-year-old and so it would be no surprise if her progeny are quick learners.