Sunday 17 December 2017

Flying Cloud to test home brigade

DERMOT WELD'S multiple scorer Chinese White, plus Remember When and Akdarena, third and sixth in the English Oaks for Aidan O'Brien and Jim Bolger, head the nine survivors for tomorrow's featured Audi Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

Last season's dual Oaks heroine Sariska and last week's Royal Ascot winner Strawberrydaiquiri were the high-profile names among the nine defectors from the Group One contest that went to another proven English performer Dar Re Mi this time last year.

The home defence of the Audi promotion looks more formidable this weekend, with both the older Chinese White and Akdarena rated 113 and Remember When, which ran the race of her life at Epsom, just 3lb inferior at this juncture.

Godolphin's Flying Cloud, which was third to Sariska from Saeed Bin Suroor's yard in Group Two company at York last month on her seasonal debut, could seriously test this trio to a much greater extent than fellow raiders Kinky Afro and Saphira's Fire.

Meanwhile, Weld, O'Brien and Bolger are all hoping to commence the most prestigious fixture of the year at headquarters on a winning note this evening -- in either the Ballygallon Stud Stakes or in the preceding Derrinstown Stud Apprentice Derby.

Several of the speedier juvenile fillies here at present take centre stage in the former event at Listed level and it will be disappointing for this local talent if Mick Channon's lone English candidate Galloping Queen ends up putting them in the shade.

Fran Berry partners Channon's daughter of Refuse To Bend, which was a creditable third on her debut in a Haydock Park maiden, and takes part tonight in preference to more exposed and the proven stable companion Hortensia.

However, Berry's mount won't find it easy to keep tabs on the likes of Purple Glow and Moonlit Garden -- sixth and seventh in Ascot's Queen Mary Stakes last week -- as well as easy Leopardstown maiden winner Looking Lovely.

Considering she was drawn on the less favoured stands side and therefore obliged to race alone, Moonlit Garden, which was a fluent scorer over this route on her debut, was a long way from being disgraced behind Maqaasid in the five-furlong Queen Mary.

Dermot Weld's Exceed And Excel filly has no such inhibiting factor to contend with on this occasion and the combination of an extra furlong and less lively surface provide further encouragement that she can bounce back to winning ways now.

The Rosewell House trainer has Leigh Roche on duty in the Derrinstown Stud Derby confined to apprentices as last autumn's Dundalk scorer Easy Mate attempts to recoup losses incurred at Listowel earlier this month when foiled by Spinning Wings.

Moyglare Stud's Monsun filly deserves the utmost respect in this grade along with John Oxx's hat-trick seeker Emrani, which however has taken a combined hike of 16lb in the ratings for his all-weather successes at the Louth venue.

In the circumstances the vote goes to a rejuvenated Pozyc, which won over hurdles for Willie Mullins at Gowran Park in mid-April to emphasise his full recovery from injury and does not seem badly treated here in the capable hands of Eddie Linehan.

Mullins' regular jumping rivals, Noel Meade and Tony Martin, captured this Apprentice Derby with Telemachus and Imperial Rose in recent seasons, so there's sufficient precedent for thinking flat-bred Pozyc can emulate them as a sporting nap selection.

Kevin Prendergast's Hedaaya and Jessica Harrington's versatile Sandymount Lady -- runner-up and a beaten favourite respectively behind Sunday's Ulster Oaks heroine Shareen at Leopardstown 15 days ago -- could likewise boost that form by providing the answers on this tricky card to both the and N Conlan & Sons Handicaps, before Galway's Saw Doctors prepare to entertain the crowds.

Irish Independent

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