There is something immensely satisfying when a plan comes together with a good horse. When seeing Lone Eagle set sail for home on the turn in at the Curragh, I had thought that we were watching yet another Frankie Dettori masterclass. However, I should have had more faith in William Buick and one of my favourite flat horses, Hurricane Lane. He bowed his head in determination, gritted his teeth and got up to win by the barest of margins at the line. It was an absolute delight for myself and I hope some availed of the 11/2 that was available last night. Looking ahead to Pretty Polly Day at the Curragh, it looks like another tough card and I’m reluctant to give back the hard earned money that was won today.
Pretty Polly Stakes (1m2f)
The feature on the card today is the Pretty Polly Stakes, and sees another very competitive lineup go the distance of 10 furlongs. The favourite is Santa Barbara, who sees herself at the top of the market through reputation rather than performance. Her effort in the 1000 Guineas was sound for an inexperienced horse, but she was well beaten in the Oaks and despite getting a healthy weight for age allowance – could well come up short here. I am more intrigued by the improving Epona Plays, who comes into this race on the back of two wins from two this season. The second effort was a convincing win in the Lanwades over a mile, and this step up in trip could bring about even more progression. At a price of 6/1 with William Hill, I think she is overpriced and worth a try Each Way.
Curragh Cup (1m6f)
For a Group 2 contest, this race looks weak on paper and it looks like Aidan O’Brien is mob handed in trying to find the winner of this race. He saddles the favourite, Passion, who has been slightly frustrating to follow from a win perspective. Pondus brings some good form to the table, while Amhran Na Bhfian will have to bounce back from some underwhelming displays of late. I fancy the underdog of the lineup, Sunchart, for the Slattery team. This horse has been hard to win with as of late, but is a tried and tested performer and shouldn’t be far away at his best. At a best price of 11/2 with Paddy Power with 3 places available, I make him another bet each way.
Median Auction Maiden (1m)
The finale on the card and the final race of the weekend at the Curragh is another competitive maiden race, with some very interesting types lining up against each other. I am going to go for the best form in the book, with the Darren Bunyan trained, Notre Belle Bete. He ran terrific races in his first two starts when finishing close fourths in a pair of Listed events, before just being edged out over 1 mile at Leopardstown in a maiden. He was outclassed at Royal Ascot recently, but he drops back into a maiden here with the clear form chance. At a best price 3/1 with Paddy Power, I am hoping he gets off the mark at the fifth attempt.