Was and Shirocco Star renew rivalry in Pretty Polly Stakes
Shirocco Star was a little unfortunate not to record a Group race success last season having been placed in both the English and Irish Oaks as well as finishing second in the Prix De Royallieu. She put in a modest first effort for the season at Newmarket but the race was not run to suit and she can be expected to perform much better here.
Was sprang something of a surprise when winning at Epsom last summer and has not been able to repeat that performance since. She steps back up in distance after finishing fourth over a mile on her seasonal debut.
She was sent off at 20-1 for the Oaks but held the persistent challenge of Hughie Morrison’s filly by a quarter of a length. Shirocco Star was beaten by Dermot Weld’s Sapphire at Ascot’s Champions meeting in October, reversing placings with Was (7th) in the process.
Tommy Stack’s impressive Salsabil Stakes winner Alive Alive Oh is likely to go off favourite after her impressive six-length victory. The form of that race is questionable but the manner of her victory suggested that she can take the step up to group class.
Aidan O’Brien is also represented by the three-year-old Say who made little impression in this season’s Oaks. Mick Channon’s Cruck Realta won a decent race at Newbury last time whilst Rehn’s Nest was second in the Irish 1000 Guineas before being well beaten at Ascot.
Weld’s Princess Highway slammed The Fugue and Shirocco Star by six lengths in the Ribblesdale Stakes last. However, she met with defeat at the hands of Great Heavens in the Irish Oaks on her next start, finishing behind Shirocco Star in third.
She disappointed again in the Prix Vermeille and again at Woodbine in October. The daughter of Street Cry did not run badly on her seasonal reappearance but Weld obviously feels she is holding a little back and the blinds are applied on Sunday. The going might be a little on the fast side for her.
The Aga Khan’s Harasiya made no show in the Guineas and needs to step up considerably on that effort to figure here. La Collina has consistent form at slightly shorter distances whilst Ambivalent failed to take advantage of a good winning opportunity at Haydock last time out.