Wednesday 18 October 2017

Was looking Pretty for Curragh feature

Halford: Runs Blue Corner on Sunday
Halford: Runs Blue Corner on Sunday

WHILE the Dubai Duty Free Derby obviously holds centre stage this weekend, there's plenty of other interesting appetisers on the Curragh's three-day menu -- especially in Sunday's showpiece event for fillies.

The Barclays Bank Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes traditionally produces a winner of the highest class, and there should be no exception this year, with Epsom Oaks winner Was among the entries.

Aidan O'Brien's lightly-raced filly sprang a 20/1 surprise at Epsom on just her third run and the regally-bred youngster is one of half a dozen possibles for Ballydoyle in the Group One.

Betterbetterbetter, Maybe, Soon, Up and Wonderful are others still engaged from the yard, while Dermot Weld's Sapphire, a very impressive winner of the Noblesse Stakes at Cork, could make her first appearance in a Group One.

David Wachman's Aloof and Jessica Harrington's Bible Belt are other possible members of a strong home team.

John Gosden's Izzi Top, impressive this year in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket and in the Middleton Stakes at York, could make the trip over along with David Simcock's I'm A Dreamer and Roger Charlton's Sea Of Heartbreak.

Another interesting entry on the same card is Sheikh Mohammed's once-raced colt Blue Corner, which is set to step up straight from a maiden to Group Three company. A five-length winner of a 10-furlong maiden on his debut last month, the Teofilo colt has been supplemented by Michael Halford for the Friarstown Stud International Stakes.

"We entered him this morning and the plan will be to run him," said the Kildare handler. "We'll keep a close eye on the ground. We wouldn't want it too testing, but he's in good form.

"We just don't want the ground to deteriorate a whole lot. His first run was very encouraging and he seems to have gone forward since at home, so it will be interesting now to run him and see where we are.

"I'm happy with him. He missed his engagement in the Nijinsky Stakes (at Leopardstown) due to the ground, so this was the next option for him."

Halford trained Casamento to win the Group One Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 2010 for Sheikh Mohammed and is delighted to have another promising colt for the same owner in his care.

"It's very exciting. He could be another very nice horse, you never know," he said.

Halford has another possible runner in the four-year-old Defining Year, which ran as recently as Friday when he finished third to Tannery in a Listed race at Limerick. "He had a tough enough race the other day in Limerick so we'll play it by ear for the week and see how he is," added the trainer.

Weld's Famous Name is a likely rival, while another possible is Native Khan, which could make his first start for John Oxx. The colt was third behind Frankel in last year's 2,000 Guineas when trained by Ed Dunlop.

Meanwhile, O'Brien's Fame And Glory has been left in the field for the Group Three Curragh Cup.

The former Coronation Cup winner proved a major disappointment when trying to record back-to-back wins in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week.

The son of Montjeu is one of 19 acceptors for the mile-and-six contest. The fast improving Midnight Soprano has been supplemented for the race at a cost of €6,250.

Irish Independent

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