Wednesday 21 February 2018

Legatissimo faces strong field in Pretty Polly step-up

Wachman: Ground not an issue
Wachman: Ground not an issue Newsdesk Newsdesk

Classic-winning filly Legatissimo tests her powers against the older generation for the first time in a fascinating renewal of the Pretty Polly Stakes today.

David Wachman's three-year-old lunged late to claim the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May under Ryan Moore and was narrowly denied the Classic double at Epsom, beaten by 50/1 shot Qualify in the Investec Oaks. She returns to an intermediate distance of a mile-and-a-quarter for her latest Group One assignment, but will have to be good to see off a quality field.

"She seems well at home, so we'll just have to wait and see what happens," said Wachman. "She's won over seven furlongs and a mile and was touched off in the Oaks over a mile-and-a-half, so she's pretty adaptable.

"I don't think the ground should be an issue. She'd go on most ground and it should be goodish this weekend."

Legatissimo is one of four three-year-olds declared in a nine-strong field, with Pleascach another major contender. Jim Bolger's filly claimed the Irish 1,000 Guineas before chasing home the Wachman-trained Curvy in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Aidan O'Brien relies on Epsom Oaks fourth Diamondsandrubies, while Tamadhor from Kevin Prendergast's yard is the other three-year-old in the line-up. The only Irish-trained older horse is the unbeaten Brooch. The British challenge consists of Ralph Beckett's Secret Gesture, James Fanshawe's Ribbons and Ed Walker's Mutatis Mutandis.

"Diamondsandrubies ran a lovely race in Epsom," said O'Brien. "She got a little bit of a bump at a bad time in the Oaks, but she stayed on well to run a nice race and we've been happy with her since. We think she is a filly that is progressing well."

Ground conditions will dictate if Gold Cup third Forgotten Rules will make a return to action in the Curragh Cup.

A winner on Champions Day at Ascot last October, Dermot Weld's five-year-old made a successful return to action in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan and headed to Royal Ascot as favourite for the two-and-a-half-mile showpiece. After much deliberation, connections eventually gave him the green light to take his chance, despite fears about the drying ground, and he performed admirably to pick up minor honours.

Forgotten Rules was a surprise entry for this weekend's Group Three event, which comes just 10 days after his Ascot exertions, but connections are ready to let him take his chance provided conditions are deemed suitable.

Whether he takes his chance in the Curragh Cup or not, Forgotten Rules looks set to be targeted at the Irish St Leger in September, before defending his crown in the British Champions Long Distance Cup.

The second-highest horse on official ratings is the Andrew Oliver-trained Panama Hat, which won five times during a tremendous 2014 campaign and was only narrowly touched off by unlucky Gold Cup runner-up Kingfisher in Leopardstown's Saval Beg Stakes three weeks ago.

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