Tag Archives: Legatissimo

Preview – Pretty Polly Stakes Day

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

The Big Race: Epsom Oaks

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The general perception is that the Oaks are a better race than the Derby this year. And yes, there’s certainly some merit to this. The Oaks field looks absolute delicious -and that’s not only because the brilliant 1000 Guineas winner Legatissimo standing her ground over the much longer Oaks trip. No, it’s the strengths in depth that really intrigues me.

Of course the Wachman filly couldn’t have been more impressive at Newmarket. The drop in trip to 1m didn’t seem to suit beforehand, but it worked absolutely in her favour given the way the race panned out. Racing off the frenetic pace, once she started her big move, she picked them all up one by one, filly after filly, until she was left alone in front.

No doubt, she is a very strong favourite to land the Guineas & Oaks double. The longer trip is rather certain to suit than not, the ground won’t be an issue and she looks a well balanced filly who’s likely to handle Epsom’s undulations.

If you want to find question marks than it has to be the draw. Legatissimo has to start from stall 1 – which would be in any other sport the pole position – but not at Epsom where the record in the Oaks for fillies drawn in one is disastrous. Lucky she is, though, as she has Ryan Moore in the saddle….. there’s some people thinking he’s the best jockey in the world. He may be able to get her out of this dilemma.

Honestly, after making this case for her, I find it hard to oppose her. But I have to. At 3/1 or even shorter I can hardly see any value in the price. It’s a competitive field with strong opposition. Legatissimo is not invincible.

Main danger could be Stoute’s Crystal Zvezda. Lightly raced, she seems to have tons of potential. Her eye-catching success in a Newbury listed race on her seasonal reappearance promises allot. However Epsom is a completely different track compared to what she has seen at flat Newbury. Will this inexperienced filly handle the tough assignment which the Oaks will undoubtedly provide? Maybe. I could be tempted at 4/1, but also believe better value can be found in this field.

Many have been impressed by Jack Naylor’s performance in the Irish 1000 Guineas. So have I. She stayed on from an unfavourable position, trailing the field for most parts of the race, and finished an encouraging fourth in the end. Jack Naylor has a good chance to stay the Oaks trip, albeit it’s a dramatic step up from a mile to 1m 4f. And might the bounce factor kick in? Only 12 days after having a tough race in the Guineas she’s here at Epsom.

Aiden O’Brien is represented with three fillies. Qualify is likely to be deployed as a pacer maker – that’s my best guess. Diamondsandrubies was a very good winner of the Cheshire Oaks. Soft ground may be key to her, so the drying ground seems against her. She also needs to take another massive step forward to win.

Probably the best of the O’Brien trio is Together Forever. A Group 1 winner as a juvenile, after what her trainer said she might be more a Guineas type than one for the Oaks as she shows more speed than expected. Well, here she is in the Oaks, on the back of a very encouraging runner-up effort in the Musidora Stakes over 1m 2f.

The winner had the run of the race from the front that day and Together Forever – albeit making eye-catching progress from four to two furlongs out – appeared to be flat footed once the pace setting filly kicked on. But she kept fighting and stayed on strongly. She almost caught the eventual winner on the line.

On pedigree Together Forever looks certain to stay the Oaks trip, and not only that, she may easily improve for it. I would expect her to come on from her comeback run too. If she handles Epsom, she must rate a very big runner.

Her Musidora form is tied to Star Of Seville, who won the race. A smart filly in her own right, but 10f looks to be her optimum, if not even the limit of her stamina.

That should not be the case for Cummani’s Lady Of Dubai. She impressed at Goodwood in a Listed event and has a very fair chance to get the Oaks trip. Frankie Dettori’s mount Jazzi Top was a good Listed winner last month as well, though stamina is a bit more of a question mark for her.

It is very hard to see either Al Naamah or Bellajeu good enough to land a blow in the Oaks.

Verdict: Legatissimo is likely to be found on any short-list, for obvious reasons – but as mentioned before, she is not a price I’m particularly fond of. Same applies to Crystal Zvezda. I like her and look forward to see her running, but she not a price for me.

Lady Of Dubai is a filly I believe can run a big race and no doubt she is an interesting price. But most intriguing individual is Together Forever. Potentially she has so many things in her favour here. It’s likely that she can improve for her seasonal debut as well as the step up in trip. She’s already a Group 1 winner, so clearly has the class, and has a good draw, which isn’t quite without importance.

Together Forever @ 10/1 Coral – 5pts Win