Midday tops list for Pretty Polly Stakes
HENRY Cecil's brilliant mare Midday spearheads a list of 14 possible runners for the Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes at The Curragh on Saturday.
Cecil's multiple Group One winner is, however, likely to face a stern test from Ed Dunlop's Snow Fairy. Having won the English and Irish Oaks last summer, Snow Fairy has been enjoying a break since she suffered a setback when being prepared for the Dubai Sheema Classic in March.
Aidan O'Brien has five entries, led by Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Misty For Me. Dermot Weld could run the consistent She's Our Mark, while David Wachman's Chrysanthemum may step up in trip after suffering her first defeat in the Irish Guineas.
Meanwhile, the next target for O'Brien's ex-Australian star So You Think will be a meeting with Workforce in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in 11 days' time after his wife Anne-Marie, tweeted: "We are looking at the Coral-Eclipse in Sandown as So You Think's next start."
All four of the Co Tipperary yard's Derby runners -- Treasure Beach, Memphis Tennessee, Recital and Seville -- will try on Sunday to give their trainer a sixth successive Irish Derby, and an eighth in 11 years.
At Royal Ascot last week, Johnny Murtagh and Eddie Ahern showed just how rewarding the role of supersub can be. Murtagh picked up the mount on Deacon Blues after Hayley Turner opted to ride elsewhere, and promptly won the Wokingham Handicap. And Ahern replaced the temporarily injured Kieren Fallon on Ascot Stakes winner Veiled.
On Saturday it may be the turn of young apprentice Henry Brooke, set to be pulled off the bench for the plum ride on Overturn as the gelding goes for back-to-back Northumberland Plates at Newcastle. Last year's victory in Europe's most valuable two-mile handicap, and his success in last month's Chester Cup, came under Ahern, who is currently suspended.
Overturn, a winner eight times on the Flat and over hurdles with seven different riders in the saddle, is due to carry top weight on Saturday and Brooke's 5lb allowance can reduce the burden. "There's a strong possibility we'll claim off the horse with Henry," said trainer Donald McCain, "and it will be good for him to be on a high-profile horse."
Brooke has yet to ride the seven-year-old, second favourite for the Plate behind Activate, in public, or notch a Flat winner. But he has succeeded 21 times under jumping rules. "He's caught the eye a few times during the winter," said McCain, "and I'd be more than happy for him to ride Overturn over hurdles so he may as well ride him on the Flat."
No sooner had the former champion Ryan Moore leapfrogged Paul Hanagan in the betting for the jockeys' title than the holder found his form again. At Wolverhampton yesterday, Hanagan struck on Shamaal Nibras, his first winner for 40 rides and 12 days, and made it a double on Royal Bajan. (© Independent News Service)
Pretty Polly Stakes -- Paddy Power bet: 5/6 Midday, 2/1 Snow Fairy, 8/1 Misty for Me, 20/1 Chrysanthemum, Claiomh Solais, Eleanora Duse, Aoife Alainn, Wild Wind, 25/1 bar.