Matilda Picotte preparing for Saudi adventure

Kieran Cotter’s star filly Matilda Picotte will kick off her season in the Turf Sprint at the Saudi Cup meeting on February 24.

A promising juvenile, she made a taking start to her three-year-old season when second in a Guineas Trial at Leopardstown and was then third in the 1000 Guineas itself at Epsom in May.

She rounded off the year with back-to-back successes in the Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster and the Challenge Stakes at Newmarket, both over seven furlongs.

The ultimate aim this year is to pick up a Group One prize, but first she will start out her campaign in the Middle East as she is among the entries for the 1351 Saudi Turf Sprint, a seven-furlong Group Two run for a prize fund of over £1.5 million.

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Matilda Picotte taking the Challenge Stakes
Matilda Picotte taking the Challenge Stakes (Nigel French/PA)

“She doing fantastic, she had a break for six or seven weeks out at grass and then prior to Christmas we got an invitation to run in the Sprint,” Cotter said.

“She’s back in and being prepared for that, we’re delighted with her and she leaves for Saudi on Saturday morning to run the following Saturday.

“She flies from Shannon to Stansted and then it’s direct to Riyadh, door to door it’s a 20-hour journey which is no more than from here to Newmarket and she’s a very good traveller.”

Matilda Picotte is owned by the Matilda and Kilmichael Racing Partnership, some of whom will make the journey to Saudi Arabia to see her start what they hope will be a fruitful season at the top level.

Matilda Picotte taking the Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes
Matilda Picotte taking the Sceptre Fillies’ Stakes (PA)

“We’re looking forward to seeing her give her best. Her last run was exceptional but she’ll need to bring her whole A-game to the table in two weeks time,” Cotter said,

“It’s a good international field and I think the first, second and third from last time are going to turn up again.

“It’s serious money and we had to take the opportunity, our main target this year is to try to win a Group One with her and it’s a Group Two but if she’s a Group One horse she’ll have to go close.

“A few of the owners are going, there’ll be enough there to make a bit of noise anyway! She’s never run a bad race so it’s all to play for.”

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