Preview – Pretty Polly Stakes Day


No, that wasn’t the most enjoyable day at the Curragh yesterday. No luck with my selections; in addition the lashing rain, wind and not enough bartenders in the members bar…. nonetheless it was good to be there to see the star that is Jack Hobbs. It was only appropriate that he produced a magical performance to win the 150th Irish Derby.

What’s on the tab today? Of course the Pretty Polly Stakes. A deep field for this years renewal, maybe an even better race than the Irish Derby? A bit disappointing that the Group 3 International Stakes attracted only three runners; in general it is a quality day of racing, though.

3.20 Curragh: Handicap (60-90), 7f

I would duly expect Aiden O’Brien’s Cenotaph to show dramatic improvement for the drop in trip. This War Front son has pace but didn’t stay 10f the other day. He’s potentially on a lenient mark. But this is very much reflected in the short price, and therefore I’m pting for a bit of value, which is to find in another potentially well handicapped horse.

Doc Holliday is probably not the most prolific horse but he drops to a handy mark today. He wasn’t disgraced in two starts on the All-Weather this year, although a mile seems to stretch his stamina. That says his 1½ fourth in a ultra competitive 1m Handicap here at the Curragh last October rates extremely strong form.

The drop to 7 furlongs is today seems perfect. He has been successful over course and distance last season of a 1lb lower mark. But with the apprentice allowance of 5lb in hand, he’s certainly well in at the weights.

Doc Holliday @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win


3.55 Curragh: Grangecon Stud Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3), 6f

An exciting and hot race for juvenile fillies. The first four in the market are all top class prospects. David Wachman’s Most Beautiful made a big impression at Naas the other day when beating subsequent Norfolk Stakes winner Waterloo Bridge. He’s pacey and may try to make all.

Never underestimate Richard Hannon’s two year olds; his Great Page looks an exciting individual indeed. Same can be said about Miss Katie Mae. Trainer Ger Lyons is particularly sweet on her.

Don’t understimate Miss Elisabeth. Probably not quite as sexy as the other three fillies, she was a cheep purchase and hasn’t the impressive looks; she could be the real deal nonetheless.

I loved the way she beat the boys the last two times. On her debut at Fairyhouse, cool as a cucumber going through the narrowest of gaps. And impressive the next time, when despite missing the break and giving loads of ground away, she was still able to produce a stunning turn of foot to win easily. It’s excellent form, given that the runner-up did beat Royal Ascot winner Washington Dc earlier this year…

So, while I find it difficult to split the four mentioned fillies, the prices dictate my decision. On that basis it’s Miss Elisabeth who is overpriced here.

Miss Elisabeth @ 7/1 Bet365 – 5pts Win


Pretty Polly Stakes (Fillies’ Group 1), 1m 2f

In short: I struggle to see how Legatissimo can be beaten if things go normal. If she isn’t over the boil after being on the go for while, there are no excuses today and she’ll win. She is by far the best horse in the race. As the impressive 1000 Guineas winner and unlucky runner-up in the Oaks, the drop to 10f will be ideal, in fact it is probably her optimum trip.

Irish 1000 Guineas heroine Pleascach looks not quite in the same league, and didn’t have much time to recover from Royal Ascot, anyway. It’s a tough ask. Diamondsandrubies shouldn’t be quick enough over this trip.

From the older horses, of course rapidly improving Brooch is an exciting rival. She could be Group 1 class, but may struggle to give an awful lot of weight away to the other three year olds, in particular Legatissimo. That should decisive in the end.

 Legatissimo @ 13/8 – 10pts Win


5.00 Curragh: Handicap (3YO plus), 5f

Progressive Kimbay gets the nod in this ultra competitive sprint handicap. This filly is clearly on the upward this year. She didn’t quite get home on her seasonal debut her at the Curragh over 6f but didn’t make any mistake subsequently when dropped to fife furlongs at Tipperary.

She has a 100% record over this trip (4/4) and might be able to pull out a bit more once again in order to overcome a new career highest mark.

Kimbay @ 16/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win


5.30 Curragh: Curragh Cup (group 3), 1m 6f

Favourite Forgotten Rules takes all the beating over this trip which will suit better than Royal Ascot last week. The overnight rain will have helped his cause too, as quick ground is not what he wants. But it’s drying once again today, so that is a slight concern as well the hard race he had only last week.

Bondi Beach looks the biggest danger. He has a fair chance to improve for this new trip which he is entitled to stay. Still very lightly raced, he is open to any kind of progress. He was unlucky when last seen at Leopardstown in a Listed event over 12f as he didn’t get a clear run locked on the inside rail.

But only on his third ever career start today, he deserves a shot at this Group 3. I feel he’s a bit of a price against the red hot favourite – too big a price to ignore.

Bondi Beach @ 9/1 Coral – 5pts Win


6.00 Curragh: Handicap (60-90), 1m 2f

Maskoon hasn’t exactly been in sparkling form this year but he looks seriously well handicapped today judged on his best. He tries 10f for a second time in his life, a trip he should stay on pedigree, although he found 12f too far and 1m with big weights too fast.

So today’s test might be inch perfect, given he is now down to a mark off 83 plus the additional advantage of a 5lb claimer in the saddle. he was a strong third off 92  in a big Curragh handicap last season and showed already some form off 88 this year.

Maskoon @ 14/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

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