Colm O’Donoghue paid tribute to an “amazing filly” the morning after Alpha Centauri’s retirement from racing.
O’Donoghue was ever-present in the saddle during the Jessica Harrington-trained three-year-old’s 10-race career.
The combination claimed four Group One victories in as many months earlier this year, with her Classic triumph in the Irish 1,000 Guineas supplemented by wins in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville.
She suffered a shock defeat when bidding to complete a five-timer in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday and the following afternoon it emerged she had suffered a career-ending fetlock injury.
O’Donoghue told Press Association Sport: “Obviously it’s very sad, but to take the positives out of it, she’s retired safe and well and she can hopefully go on to enjoy her retirement as a broodmare now.
“She’s got an incredible pedigree and she’s just an amazing filly.
“Every time she turned up in a Group One this year, nobody could believe how good she was.
“Her preparation for Saturday was incredible and it was just one of those things. They’re only flesh and blood at the end of the day.”
Having spent much of his riding career as part of Aidan O’Brien’s all-conquering Ballydoyle team, O’Donoghue is no stranger to riding top-class thoroughbreds and claiming big-race victories.
His CV includes an Irish Derby success on Treasure Beach, an Irish Oaks victory on Bracelet and an Epsom Oaks win on Qualify.
Asked where Alpha Centauri ranks in the list of horses he has ridden, O’Donoghue said: “Without doubt she’s the best horse I’ve ridden on the track.
“Her ratings and her time figures tell you what a good filly she is.
“I think she’s the highest rated three-year-old filly in the world and I just feel very privileged to have ridden her.”