Sport Horse Racing

Monday 14 October 2019

O'Brien's 'Pink' can atone for Oaks near-miss in Pretty Polly

Pink Dogwood (left), playing second fiddle to Annapurna at Epsom, can go one better in today’s Curragh showpiece
Pink Dogwood (left), playing second fiddle to Annapurna at Epsom, can go one better in today’s Curragh showpiece
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Not even the misguided start time of 5.25 for the Group One Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes can take away from what should be a stellar card at the Curragh this evening.

Fresh from a spectacular week at Royal Ascot which saw him crowned leading jockey, the ever-popular Frankie Dettori jets into the Kildare track eyeing more big-race success.

The flamboyant Italian rider takes the mount on the David Lanigan-trained Worth Waiting in the €300,000 feature which has been dominated by English raiders with six victories in the last ten renewals.


Worth Waiting landed the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on her sole start this season and is respected but Charlie Appleby's Wild Illusion looks the more potent of the raiders.

Three times a winner at the highest level - including last year's Prix de l'Opera - the daughter of Dubawi has excelled over ten furlongs and should revel in the testing conditions.

Wild Illusion needed the run in last month's Prix d'Ispahan and better is expected but it is still hard to look past Aidan O'Brien's Pink Dogwood.

Magic Wand is respected for the Ballydoyle maestro but Epsom Oaks runner-up Pink Dogwood will take some beating in receipt of 12lbs from Wild Illusion and that seals the deal.

The drop back from 1m4f should play to the strengths of the Camelot filly having just tied up close home in the Epsom Classic and Ryan Moore can oblige on the exciting three-year-old.

Trainer/owner Luke Comer will be hoping to land the race he sponsors with Dettori booked for Raa Atoll in the Group Two Comer Group International Curragh Cup (3.45). A Group Two win on his penultimate start in Germany gives him a chance but with O'Brien training five of the last six winners, the likes of Southern France and Western Australia are likely to have his number. They may all be outdone by last year's Irish Derby winner Latrobe, however. Joseph O'Brien's charge seems to save his best for the Curragh and should enjoy the 1m6f test.

Meanwhile, Willie McCreery's Ickworth - which reared and never started at Ascot - is given a second chance in the Airlie Stud Stakes (4.15).

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