Friday 26 May 2017

Improving 'Lolly' can show way home in fillies' classic

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

In what looks a cracking renewal of the Etihad Airways Irish 1,000 Guineas tomorrow, Anna Salai and Lolly For Dolly, the two horses that were supplemented for the race on Tuesday, warrant close inspection.

Connections of each of the two fillies had to pay €32,000 for the chance to run in the Curragh Classic, and it would be no surprise to see both horses fight out the finish in the Group One.

Anna Salai, which had been in the care of Andre Fabre until recently, comes here with eye-catching form. A runner-up on her sole start as a juvenile and on her seasonal reappearance in April, she progressed to win at Longchamp a month ago.

Remarkably, that success came in Group Three company, and we can only assume that she was suited by the good ground that she encountered for a first time on that occasion.

Over two lengths behind her in third was Rosanara, which was subsequently beaten just a length in that head-bobbing finish that saw Special Duty awarded the French 1,000 Guineas in the stewards' room last week.

That piece of form could yet prove telling and, on the back of Makfi's success at Newmarket, Sheikh Mohammed will be anxious to secure his top sire Dubawi a second Classic. Nonetheless, Lolly For Dolly, at a general 5/1, is preferred.

With just two runs to her name, Tommy Stack's filly has immense scope to improve. On her debut over nine furlongs on heavy ground at Cork in April, the Oratorio filly justified strong support to rout the field by seven lengths, with a pair of subsequent winners behind her in second and third.

Last time, over seven furlongs on much better ground, she produced a breathtaking turn of foot to burst through a small gap and pass far more experienced horses to win the Athasi Stakes, going away by two lengths. This is a step up but, if Lolly For Dolly progresses nearly as much from her second outing, she will be very hard to beat.

It may be worth speculating that Sheikh Mohammad will land tomorrow's other Group One, the Tattersalls Gold Cup. Fame And Glory is an odds-on favourite here, but, over 10 furlongs on quick ground, last year's Irish Derby winner may be vulnerable.

Cutlass Bay, which, like Anna Salai, has switched to Newmarket from France and had to be supplemented for this, is the horse to oppose him with.

Unbeaten in five starts over 10 and 11 furlongs, the four-year-old could do no more than he did when taking the Prix Ganay winner three weeks ago.

Irish Independent

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