Manning tactics help Pleascach capture York prize
A change of tactics instigated by Kevin Manning enabled Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Pleascach to return to her best in yesterday's Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire.
Having won at the Curragh over a mile back in May, she looked guaranteed to be even better over further. However, Jim Bolger's filly was beaten by Curvy in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and could finish only fifth in the Pretty Polly Stakes over 10 furlongs.
Given that was her fifth run in quick succession, the daughter of Teofilo could be excused that and Bolger gave her a 53-day break. Manning, though, felt she had been beaten the last two times because he was trying to hold her up, breaking her stride in the process, and told connections that he would be letting her stride on.
However, she did not have to make the running because Hugo Palmer's Irish Oaks winner Covert Love set impressive fractions and when she kicked two lengths clear with two furlongs to run, she looked certain to score. But the determined Manning got Pleascach rolling and the 8/1 chance edged home by a neck with the same back to Sea Calisi.
It was not all good news for Manning as he was hit with a two-day ban for using his whip above the permitted level, but that was only a minor blemish on another Group One success.
Bolger was winning the race for the first time since Lush Lashes in 2008.
"Previously we tried to settle her a little bit and it meant breaking her stride, so Kevin decided whatever happened he wasn't going to break her stride. He gave her a beautiful ride," said the Coolcullen maestro.
"Whether it meant making the running or not, Kevin said he was determined he was going to let her roll.
"She may have been feeling the effects of a busy spell on her last two runs, but the fact we were trying to settle her, breaking her stride, was equally important. We knew she was at the top of her game coming here.
"We'll have to see how she comes out of this, but maybe something at Longchamp like the Prix de l'Opera could be next, the French deserve to have a look at her now."
Earlier, the Willie Haggas-trained Besharah demonstrated a potent turn of foot to confirm her position as one of the leading juvenile fillies in training with victory in the Lowther Stakes.
Pat Cosgrave soon had the 11/4 shot settled behind the keen-going pair of Easton Angel and Lumiere. While Besharah was one of the first to be nudged along, she responded impressively to join the leading pair.
After forcing her way between Lumiere and Easton Angel just outside the furlong pole, the daughter of Kodiac raced into a decisive advantage to beat Lumiere by just over two lengths.