A small select field for the first of two G1’s at the Curragh this weekend, the Pretty Polly serves as the starter to the main course tomorrow, the Irish Derby.
Restricted to fillies and mares it’s the first generational meeting at top-level here in Ireland this season. The three-year-old Pink Dogwood will start favourite at 11/10, she steps back in trip to 10F after her second in the Oaks at Epsom. She travelled strongly in the straight looking like a winner, she was collared close home going down a neck to Anapurna.
She’s accompanied by her stablemates, the older Magic Wand, a 10/1 shot and Happen, another three-year-old priced at 33/1, both ran at Royal Ascot last week. Magic Wand was dropped to Listed class in the Wolverton Stakes, she finished second going down 2½ L to Addeybb. She was last year’s Ribblesdale winner over Wild Illusion. Happen ran in the Coronation Stakes, she found the pace too sharp, well beaten in sixth, prior to that she took the Ashasi Stakes here having run second to Lady Kaya in the Guineas Trial at Leopardstown in April.
Godolphin’s Wild Illusion, second favourite at 5/2 went on from last year’s Ribblesdale defeat to greater things. She took the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and then the Prix de l’Opera at Longchamp on Arc day, overturning the defeat with Magic Wand in the process. She found only Sistercharlie too good in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at the end of last season. Sixth on her return in the Prix d’Ispahan, she needed the run fading only in the last furlong.
Worth Waiting, 9/1 is an intriguing runner. David Lanigan’s mare is a five-time winner from eight starts and comes into the mix having taken the G2 Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket first time out this year, she was also an easy G3 winner at Deauville last year.
Iridessa 14/1, found the mile too sharp as a three-year-old in both Irish and English Guineas having been a winner over the distance as a two-year-old in the Fillies’ Mile where she beat the dual Guineas winner Hermosa. Joseph O’Brien will be hoping the step up in trip will play to her strengths.
Ger Lyons skipped Royal Ascot with Who’s Steph 66/1, instead sending her to Cork the week before where she was a very comfortable winner of the Munster Oaks, her third win at G3 level. She was also a G2 second in the Blandford Stakes last September beaten ¾ L by Eziyra. This will be her third Curragh run.
It’s a short turnaround since Ascot, only a week, and while Aidan O’Brien has proved with Circus Maximus short turnarounds can be overcome, it’s still a lot to ask for both Magic Wand and Happen. Pink Dogwood might just feel the effects of a hard run race in the Oaks while the best filly in the race Wild Illusion really came into her own in the autumn last year.
This opens the possibility for a surprise, the improving Worth Waiting is worthy of consideration, off since May, she might just need the race however Who’s Steph, disregarded by the market, has had a nice break since Cork and is capable of belying her price.
Recommendation: Who’s Steph 66/1 e/w
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