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Pretty Polly Stakes Runners – Irish Group 1 in Hands of Strong British Challenge

The Irish Derby is not the only Group 1 hosted by the Curragh this weekend, with the all-age Pretty Polly Stakes beginning the top level action on Saturday. Exclusively for fillies and mares, the contest saw a successful raid by the Brits in 2023 courtesy of George Boughey’s Via Sistina, and another strong challenge from the visitors looks likely among with a field of eight set to go to post.

Towards the head of the market is Ralph Beckett’s Bluestocking, who was very much a nearly horse last season. She was a runner-up on four occasions, finishing a half-length second in the Irish Oaks, while also being beaten a neck in the Group 1 Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes on British Champions Day at the end of last season. However, she returned this term with a storming six-length victory at Group 2 level at York and may be a difficult filly to beat if on song throughout 2024.

Another potential representative for England is Emily Upjohn. Not at her best so far in 2024, she is nevertheless a two time Group 1 heroine, while Sir Mark Prescott’s French import Tasmania and Hughie Morrison’s Stay Alert, who was second in the race last season, add further depth to the away support.

Fifth in the Tattersalls Gold Cup earlier in the season, Joseph O’Brien’s Lumiere Rock is bidding to improve on that effort and is one of the leading Irish-trained contenders, while Aidan O’Brien’s Content adds more depth to the race. Maxux will be a second shot fired by the Joseph O’Brien gun and is a big price to prevail, while Charlie Johnston’s Francophone completes the line-up.

2024 Pretty Polly Stakes Runners

1BluestockingRalph Beckett
2Emily UpjohnJohn & Thady Gosden
3Lumiere RockJoseph O’Brien
4MaxuxJoseph O’Brien
5Stay AlertHughie Morrison
6TasmaniaSir Mark Prescott
7ContentAidan O’Brien
8FrancophoneCharlie Johnston

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