TWO of the leading horses of the year’s UK Flat racing season – Alpha Centauri and Saxon Warrior – have been retired after suffering injuries on Saturday.

Aidan O’Brien-trained Saxon Warrior won the first Classic of 2018, the 2,000 Guineas, but damaged a tendon finishing runner-up in the Irish Champion Stakes.

Also injured at Leopardstown was filly Alpha Centauri, winner of four Group One races between May and August.

She injured a fetlock when runner-up to Laurens in the Matron Stakes.

The Jessica Harrington-trained three-year-old Alpha Centauri’s surprise defeat ended a magnificent run of Group One wins for the daughter of Mastercraftsman, which began with the Irish 1,000 Guineas and took in the Coronation Stakes, Falmouth Stakes and Prix Jacques le Marois.

Alan Cooper, racing manager to owners the Niarchos family, said: “Unfortunately the decision has been taken to retire Alpha Centauri on veterinary advice and on consultation with Jessie.

“She had a chip in her right front fetlock, which you could see her feeling. It’s not a catastrophic injury and hopefully she can enjoy a successful career as a broodmare.”

Three-year-old Deep Impact colt Saxon Warrior was sent off odds-on favourite for the Derby, where he could only finish fourth, and was then beaten in the Irish equivalent.

Photo: Saxon Warrior (Irish Times).

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