09/06/2006 11:00PM

Ouija Board-'Alexander' rematch


The withdrawal of Hurricane Run from Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes sets up a fantastic rematch between Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun in Leopardstown's $1.28 million, Group 1 race at 1 1/4 miles.

With the absence of any rain likely to produce good ground at the suburban Dublin track, trainer Andre Fabre has opted to keep Hurricane Run, his defending Arc titleholder, in France for Sunday's Prix Foy. As a result, the sensational mares Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun will meet five weeks after having battled through the Goodwood stretch in the Nassau Stakes, where Ouija Board prevailed by a mere nose.

In Jamie Spencer, the Ed Dunlop-trained Ouija Board will have her fourth different rider in her last four races. Spencer has ridden the six-time Group 1 winner three times in the past, but not since June 2005, when Ouija Board finished seventh in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, a race she won this year when ridden by Olivier Peslier.

Alexander Goldrun, a five-time Group 1 winner herself, will be ridden as usual by Kevin Manning. He has been on board for every one of her 28 starts.

Aidan O'Brien saddles two in Irish Derby winner Dylan Thomas and the continually disappointing Ace. Kieren Fallon has chosen Dylan Thomas, but the Danehill colt, only fourth last time behind Notnowcato in the Juddmonte International, would be better suited by 1 1/2 miles. Rob Roy failed in his lone try at the distance when 14th in David Junior's Champion Stakes at Newmarket last October, but Mustameet, the winner of his last four outings, most recently in the Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, could be the value play at 6-1.

* The Group 1 , $320,000 Matron Stakes, a one-mile race for fillies and mares, has attracted Group 1 winners Nannina and Peeress. Just two lengths behind Ouija Board and Alexander Goldrun when third in the Nassau Stakes, Nannina would appear to be a solid favorite, but the improving Red Evie is the choice. The Michael Bell-trained Red Evie made it six wins in a row last time when taking the seven-furlong, Group 3 Oak Tree Stakes at Goodwood and may be good enough to handle this step up in class.