Sport Horse Racing

Friday 20 April 2018

Alive Alive Oh to hit right note for Stack

Princess Highway must show improvement if she’s to trump Alive Alive Oh
Princess Highway must show improvement if she’s to trump Alive Alive Oh
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

TOMMY STACK'S shrewd Tipperary stable can reignite its excellent record with top-class fillies by claiming tomorrow's Pretty Polly Stakes courtesy of the exciting Alive Alive Oh.

Having scratched Wayne Lordan's mount from the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot due to the prevailing fast ground, the Stack team may be anxious that the Curragh gets a drop of rain ahead of the Oxigen Environmental-sponsored Group One.

In the event that Alive Alive Oh does participate, though, none of her nine rivals appeal as being quite so precocious.

Owned by JP McManus' daughter Sue-Ann Foley, the Duke Of Marmalade three-year-old finished third to this year's Irish 2,000 Guineas victor Magician on its track debut at Headquarters over a mile in the autumn.

She duly fulfilled the promise of that outing by readily justifying odds-on status over an extended mile on her Cork reappearance in March, before then slamming a Listed field of useful sorts over tomorrow's 10-furlong trip at Navan.

As such, Alive Alive Oh is a deeply progressive filly that has the scope to emulate former stars of the Golden yard such as Tarascon and Las Meninas by scoring at the highest level.

Of her opponents, Ballydoyle will be hoping for an improved showing from last year's Epsom Oaks heroine Was, which struggled on its return here over an inadequate trip a month ago.

Dermot Weld's first-time blinkered Princess Highway is another to consider, but it may be that the main threats come from across the water.

Roger Varian's Ambivalent has the benefit of the in-form Johnny Murtagh up top, while Mick Channon and Martin Harley combine with Cruck Realta, a commanding winner of a Newbury Listed race two weeks ago.


However, at her best, Hughie Morrison's Shirocco Star could be the main danger under a revitalised Kieren Fallon. Second in the Oaks here in 2012, this is a four-year-old that has performed consistently well in good company, so she ought to really test Alive Alive Oh.

Aidan and Joseph O'Brien might well get proceedings off to a flyer with Australia – a Galileo colt out of the brilliant 2004 Irish Oaks winner Ouija Board – in the juvenile maiden, and the champion jockey has opted for Bye Bye Birdie over Bluebell in the Grangecon Stud Stakes.

This is a tricky Group Three, but Jim Bolger's Heart Focus has the most robust credentials, given that she beat Bye Bye Birdie at Naas in May and ran well in defeat at Royal Ascot.

In the At The Races Curragh Cup, last year's Irish St Leger victor Royal Diamond is fancied to bounce back to its best for Murtagh, with the day's nap vote falling to Mick Halford's Regulation in the Irish Field Premier Handicap.

This one-mile affair ostensibly falls into the minefield bracket, as 17 competitive sorts vie for a first prize of €30,000.

Nonetheless, in two starts at the Curragh, Regulation hacked up in a maiden at this Festival 12 months ago, and then swooped late when a close third to Fiesolana on Guineas weekend.

Given that Fiesolana has since won up in Group company, that form reads particularly well, so Marc Monaghan's mount certainly has lots going for him off just a three-pound higher rating here.

Irish Independent

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