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AUGUSTE RODIN was unlucky not to have won on debut here earlier this month and can secure compensation with victory in this opening 7-furlong maiden on Pretty Polly day at the Curragh. The son of Deep Impact got stuck in a pocket on the inside rail two-furlongs down, before having the door closed at the furlong pole when making a move between two horses under Ryan Moore. He flew from fourth after that incident and finished second behind Crypto Force who got first run.
The benefit of that experience against a field which is dominated by newcomers can see Aidan O’Brien’s runner break his maiden before contesting top juvenile races later this season. Elsewhere, Juddmonte are represented by both Glazunov and Tiverton with trainer Ger Lyons looking to land this race again following success with Atomic Jones last year. There’s a host of runners from big stables and this race on paper looks a contest that should produce plenty of winners down the line.
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The Airlie Stud Stakes looks a peach of a contest with Jim Bolger and Jessica Harrington doing battle with both Juddmonte and Coolmore in this Group 2 juvenile event over 6-furlongs. Comhra and It’s Showtime Baby warrant respect following second and third place finishes to subsequent Albany Stakes winner Meditate at Naas last month. However, STATUETTE was very impressive on debut at Navan and can progress further to give Aidan O’Brien his seventh victory in this contest.
The daughter of Justify showed an electric turn of foot when scoring on debut and can use her speed again to score under Ryan Moore. Matilda Picotte, who also raced as Naas behind Meditate along with Zarinsk who won smartly from the front here on debut are likely to set a good strong pace. This could be tactically set up nicely for Statuette and hopefully she’ll find a clear path to win with Papilio looking a danger for the Fozzy Stack team, who won this race with Aloha Star in 2020.
BIG GOSSEY has been a horse I’ve followed over a cliff and has been unlucky with the draw here at the Curragh again this season. The son of Gutaifan has been consistent this year and I’m told is in good health ahead of his latest attempt at the Rockingham having finished down the field behind Urban Beat last year. However, despite his nice second at Fairyhouse, the five-year-old has once again been handed a low draw (in 3), similar to his fifth-place effort behind Additional last month.
He was sharing the lead and right in contention a furlong down over the six-furlong trip last month, so hopefully he’ll go close under Danny Sheehy. EROSANDPSYCHE raced just ahead of Big Gossey last month and is my other selection for the inform team of Billy Lee and Paddy Twomey. The four-year-old has previously won over this trip, has a high draw, wears cheekpieces for the first time and has dropped a pound in the ratings following his comeback run which was his first since last August.
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Tom Marquand came to the Curragh for his first ever ride last month and produced a masterclass winning performance on Alenquer in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. The talented young jockey has decided to ride Purplepay over My Astra on his return to Ireland with the British having a strong record in the feature Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes. This race has been won five times by UK trainers over the past decade with Aidan and Joseph O’Brien taken the other five between them for the home challengers.
This looks a strong renewal with Dreamloper and My Astra joint top-rated on 115 with Ed Walker’s mare landing the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan on her latest start, with William Haggas’ filly stepping up in grade following a runway victory in Listed company at Ayr. Marquand must think there’s further improvement to come from Purplepay following her success at Chantilly and it will be interesting to see how she performs now stepping up in trip.
However, despite the strong British challenge, I’m confident Aidan O’Brien can strike with CONCERT HALL who missed Royal Ascot and returns here following a cracking run when fourth in the Oaks at Epsom. This trip looks ideal following victory earlier this season at Navan and her staying on third to Homeless Songs in the Irish 1000 Guineas. La Petite Coco beat Love in the Blandford Stakes last season, which is excellent form but she’s likely to need the run against fitter and classy opposition.
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COUGAR can benefit from the drop back in trip and break his maiden in the closing race of the Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh this Sunday. The son of Deep Impact returns quickly having finished second as a beaten favourite for Aidan O’Brien in the Ulster Derby last weekend. He travelled well into that race but couldn’t live with the kick and late speed of the winner Urban Oasis for Johnny Feane and Jamie Powell.
He should put his experience to good use here having been placed in two previous starts earlier this season. Elsewhere, Nusret has a similar profile and is one of three runners for Joseph O’Brien with Cheviot Beach and Rosso Corsa interesting newcomers for the Piltown team. Nemean should improve for his debut second at Gowan Park for Johnny Murtagh, while Active Duty and Adonis represent Ger Lyons and Jessica Harrington in what looks an open finale.
James Shortt’s Curragh betting tips:
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