Saturday 10 December 2016

Legatissimo fancied to atone for Oaks defeat

Published 27/06/2015 | 02:30

Legatissimo and Ryan Moore (right), here winning the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas, will be hard to beat in tomorrow’s Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh
Legatissimo and Ryan Moore (right), here winning the Newmarket 1,000 Guineas, will be hard to beat in tomorrow’s Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh

On an excellent Curragh spread tomorrow spearheaded by a dust-up between two Classic winners in the Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes, the presence of Dermot Weld's gallant Gold Cup third Forgotten Rules is an unexpected treat.

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In the featured €250,000 Group One, the clash of David Wachman's 1,000 Guineas victor Legatissimo and the Jim Bolger-trained winner of the Irish equivalent Pleascach promises to be a real belter. The 10-furlong event has gone for export every year since 2012.

This time, three of the nine runners will try to take the winner's purse across the water, while a fourth, John Hammond's Pollyana, hails from France.

Having plundered six of the 11 renewals since the race became a Group One in 2004, the English challenge in particular warrants respect, and Ralph Beckett's 2013 Oaks second Secret Gesture is feared.

She will be ridden by the Sardinian Andrea Atzeni, with Italy's most famous horseman Frankie Dettori on Ribbons.

James Fanshawe's five-year-old finished third to Secret Gesture in a York Group Two when both mares were making their respective reappearances.

The daughter of Manduro won and finished second in French Group Ones over this trip in the autumn, so she could well have a big say now that she has a run under her belt.

However, given that this year's three-year-old fillies have been causing such a stir, it will be a little disappointing if either Legatissimo or Pleascach don't prevail.

They should be ably supported by Aidan O'Brien's Diamondsandrubies, which suffered more than most when things got rough up the straight in the Oaks, before keeping on for fourth.

Kevin Prendergast's Tamadhor is another 2012 foal, but she has more to prove at this level, for all that she remains potentially quite smart.

Pleascach ruined her chance in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot by pulling too hard off a modest pace over 12 furlongs. In the circumstances, she emerged with plenty credit when coming out a clear second best a length behind Curvy.

Dropping back to this trip will surely suit, and it will be interesting to see if Kevin Manning opts to let her race on the pace, as there might be little to be gained from fighting her over this trip if she does hit the gates running.

Legatissimo was denied a Classic double in pretty cruel circumstances at Epsom. Given that she was only beaten a short-head, it's hard to say that she didn't stay, as she still beat everything else stone cold.

At the same time, bearing in mind that the race was hers to lose inside the distance, bringing her back in trip was probably a no-brainer. All in all, she is appeals as nap material to make amends now under Ryan Moore, who knows her intimately at this stage.

Forgotten Rules is also on a bit of a reparation mission in the At The Races Curragh Cup.

Having raced a mite keenly on ground that was faster than ideal in the Gold Cup, he failed to quite get home. That was his first setback in five outings, but he didn't lose much in defeat.

It is unusual for Weld to turn such a high-class performer out so soon after a big race.

However, with rain due to hit the Curragh tomorrow morning, he is gambling on the forecast being accurate.

If Forgotten Rules does turn up under Pat Smullen just 10 days after his gruelling Gold Cup reversal, you couldn't oppose him with any confidence, as he must be showing up seriously well at home for Weld to even consider the mile-and-six-furlong Group Three an option.

The Grangecon Stud Stakes for juvenile fillies is a deeply competitive Group Three.

Most Beautiful, which beat the Norfolk winner Waterloo Bridge at Navan last time, represents Wachman and Moore, while Eddie Lynam's Miss Elizabeth looked the part in scoring for a second time in as many starts at the same track two weeks ago.

Richard Hannon and his in-form rider Sean Levey combine for Great Page, which won a Naas Listed race with real authority.

Preferred to trump them all, though, is Ger Lyons' Miss Katie Mae. Colin Keane's mount built on an encouraging debut to score over course and distance on Guineas weekend.

In the process, she beat subsequent winners Spinamiss and Vitello into second and third, with Ballydoyle, so narrowly beaten in the Chesham at Ascot, back in fourth.

That is fair form, so Miss Katie Mae is fancied to go very close again now.

In the €100,000 Rockingham, a chance is taken on Tracey Collins' Chiclet bouncing back to her best for Smullen.

Johnny Murtagh's Hunt is worth a look in the Sunday Independent Handicap over seven furlongs.

Successful over this trip at Dundalk in April, Hunt wasn't disgraced when fifth over a mile on his Leopardstown handicap bow, but this trips suits better.

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