Saturday 24 February 2018

Varian's raider takes Pretty Polly spoils

Trainer Roger Varian. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Trainer Roger Varian. Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Martin Kelly

English trainer Roger Varian was delighted to see Nezwaah justify his faith with a brilliant display in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

The daughter of Dubawi came up short on her only previous appearance at the highest level in Canada last autumn, but having danced clear in a Listed event at Ayr on her seasonal reappearance, Varian was keen to give her another chance to prove her worth.

The 13/2 chance travelled strongly throughout in the hands of Andrea Atzeni as Creggs Pipe set a furious pace before predictably folding.

Zhukova hit the front inside the final two furlongs, but Nezwaah ranged alongside soon after and powered clear to score by three-and-a-quarter lengths from Aidan O'Brien's Rain Goddess.

The big disappointment of the race was John Gosden's 15/8 favourite Journey, which beat only the fading Creggs Pipes home.

"We've always thought a lot of her, thought she should run well today and we'd really learn how good she was," Varian said of the winner. "I think there were four previous Group One winners in the race. You could probably name a small handful of very good fillies that aren't here, but still it was a good race on paper and none of these Group Ones are easy to win."

Discussing future targets, the trainer added: "She's well entered up. She's in the Nassau Stakes, the Beverly D at Arlington. She's got all the big entries and we thought how we ran today would perhaps determine where we went."

Rekindling looks a likely contender for the St Leger after his late charge secured him victory in the Comer Group International Curragh Cup. The Ballysax Stakes winner was all at sea in the Epsom Derby a month ago, but showed his true quality back on this more conventional track.

Favourite Wicklow Brave looked home for all money after going clear in the final furlong, but Wayne Lordan coaxed a late rattle out of 4/1 shot Rekindling and he got up to score by half a length.

Winning trainer Joseph O'Brien said: "It looked today like he could be a Leger horse. He did well to go and get Wicklow Brave, he's a very good horse."

Although out of luck in the two feature events, it was another good day for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore as they combined to complete trebles.

Johannes Vermeer obliged as the 5/2 favourite in the Finlay Volvo International Stakes before stablemate Clemmie (6/4 fav) claimed the other Group Three, the Grangecon Stud Stakes.

O'Brien said: "You'd be delighted with Johannes Vermeer. Ryan said he could be a Caulfield Cup horse."

The hat-trick was initiated by Gustav Klimt (11/8 fav) which opened his account in the Barronstown Stud Maiden.

Irish Independent

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