Monday 11 December 2017

O'Brien's Somehow to miss Pretty Polly

O’Brien seems to hold the key to the big race of the weekend. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
O’Brien seems to hold the key to the big race of the weekend. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Somehow, second-favourite for the Group One, will not contest Sunday's Pretty Polly at the Curragh, apparently easing the task ahead of Zhukova.

Somehow was trading at 11/4 in the ante-post market for the ten-furlong affair, having been in superb form this season. "She will not be running in Sunday's race," trainer Aidan O'Brien told the Irish Independent.

Dermot Weld is expected to leave his decision on Zhukova's participation until relatively late. Next in the betting is Journey, a five-year-old mare which is trained by John Gosden and was last seen running a nice race behind Highland Reel at Epsom on Derby weekend.

O'Brien seems to hold the key to the big race of the weekend, Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Epsom hero Wings Of Eagles is one of eight possible runners for Ballydoyle along with Capri, Douglas Macarthur, Finn McCool, Spanish Steps, Taj Mahal, The Anvil and Venice Beach.

"Wings Of Eagles is in good form. We are keeping an eye on the weather before deciding what may happen with our runners," said O'Brien, who also had news on Caravaggio, which was a brilliant winner of the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot last month.

The grey, a son of the late Scat Daddy, maintained his unbeaten record and is likely next running in Newmarket's July Cup. O'Brien said there was no plan beyond that and spoke of the colt's potential at stud.

"We were always very happy in the race and you must remember it was just his second run of the year, quite a big step up form the run he had at Naas. He was very good, and it was a very solid performance. We always take one race at a time. When he is back in full work, the July Cup is one of the main races we will look at. We're thinking of that at the moment. As for later on, it's just a case of taking one race at a time.

"You'd have to be very excited about him (at stud). He's a total out-cross for all our Northern Dancer-line mares."

Acapulco, the in-foal mare and another Scat Daddy-bred which missed Royal Ascot on account of a late setback, has probably run her last race. She still has time to race on in-foal but O'Brien has intimated that this is unlikely.

Disappointing

"It's very possible she won't run again. Royal Ascot was disappointing but such is racing and she is a very important mare for us," he said.

Elsewhere, Elusive Beauty lunged late under Danny Tudhope to take top honours in the Eternal Stakes at Carlisle.

Ken Condon's filly - an 11/2 chance for the Listed prize - finished powerfully to deny 7/4 favourite Bletchley.

Winning owner David Kelly said: "Ken pinpointed this race a long time ago as there are not many three-year-old only fillies' Listed races in Ireland."

The formidable combination of trainer Richard Fahey and jockey Paul Hanagan claimed the historic Carlisle Bell for the first time with the fast-finishing Carnageo.

The £30,000 contest was the main attraction on one of the biggest days of the year at the Cumbrian circuit, with the bells reputed to be the oldest sporting trophy in the world, having first been presented in 1599.

Silvestre de Sousa's hot streak continued when he won the Group Three Prix Daphnis for Andre Fabre at Maisons Laffitte on Last Kingdom.

A son of Frankel, Last Kingdom was winning his third race in succession and took the notable scalp of Spotify, who finished fourth in the French 2000 Guineas last time out.

Spotify had the rail to help him inside the final furlong but Last Kingdom gamely stuck his neck out to win by a neck.

Jean-Claude Rouget is aiming Almanzor at the Sky Bet York Stakes on July 29. Last season's European Horse of the Year, a brilliant winner of the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, has yet to see the track this term.

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