Be Alive to Polly punt
Man On the Spot previews Sunday's card at the Curragh, featuring the Pretty Polly Stakes, and the Prix Jean Prat at Chantillly.
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Third Dimension is the only one of these with previous racecourse experience and the fact that he started favourite at Leopardstown last month suggests he's capable of better. But Ballydoyle has dominated this maiden in recent years and AUSTRALIA looks well up to standard being by Galileo out of the brilliant Ouija Board and a half-brother to a couple of winners. The Manduro colt Kerkeni is also nicely bred, as is Dai Bando, while Leafcutter is preferred to Mick Halford's pair Political Policy and Warbird of the remainder.
Bye Bye Birdie never figured in last week's Queen Mary at Ascot but the return to 6f will suit and Joseph O'Brien prefers her to Bluebell, who beat Pearl Earing over 7f at Limerick. The latter could reverse that form here, however, with a run under her belt. HEART FOCUS beat Bye Bye Birdie at Naas last month and produced another good run at the royal meeting when fourth in the Albany Stakes, reproducing her form at Naas with the smart Sandiva in the process. She's a tough filly and can take this ahead of Dundalk debut winner Gwen Lady Byron.
Vastonea won on his reappearance at Gowran and Gary Halpin takes off 7lb here. Fortify should go well having one found one too good in a Listed race over 7f here last month while Maggie Dalton is equally lightly-raced, though could struggle for pace over this trip having finished second over 1m5f at Down Royal last weekend. Negotiate has her sights lowered but stablemate MORAN GRA is of more interest. Joanna Morgan's gelding won this off a 3lb higher mark in 2011 and beat Banna Boirche at Dundalk last year. He's run a lot better than his form figures suggest in three runs this term and may have been aimed at a repeat. Eddie Lynam runs Akasaka and Back Burner but Regulation looks a better bet at the weights and is a previous course and distance winner.
ALIVE ALIVE OH was denied a run in the Ribblesdale at Ascot last week, the race in which Princess Highway made her name last year, but she should make the line-up here and can confirm the good impression she made when easily winning the Salsabil Stakes over this trip at Navan last month. Princess Highway has gone off the boil and is now tried in blinkers but there are other smart fillies among the older horses including the consistent La Collina and last year's Epsom Oaks first and second, Was and Shirocco Star. Ambivalent finished tailed off on her only previous try at this level, however, while Newbury winner Cruck Realta also needs more. Harasiya and Rehn's Nest have a bit to prove now along with Say.
It's a bit of a mystery how MANUKA has remained a maiden for so long as he's shown form at a decent level and Katie Walsh rode him into third place at Tramore two runs ago. Johnny Murtagh has snapped her up again here and the four-year-old must take all the beating. Buy Back Bob is tried in a hood after finishing fourth at Down Royal. He has winning form on good to firm and should be thereabouts while Eighteen Summers will have needed his comeback run at Listowel and will get every assistance from Jane Mangan. Empress Of Tara needs forgiving a poor run at Down Royal but could be the pick of the remainder.
Benbecula made all to beat The Giving Tree and Something Graceful at Fairyhouse last month but will have to defy a further 6lb weight rise if he's to complete the hat-trick. Bumper winner Curley Bill is interesting having made a winning start to his Flat career at Gowran while Safe Home also scored at the first time of asking on the same track, though has an extra 3f to cover here. The step up to 1m4f saw DABADIYAN get off the mark and there should be more to come from Mick Halford's Zamindar colt, who was competing against the likes of Trading Leather as a juvenile. Halford also runs Paddy The Celeb and Cebuano but the unexposed St Jean may be a bigger threat.
Royal Diamond is 4lb better off than when beaten just over three lengths by Glen's Diamond in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup but that may not be enough to turn the tables on Richard Fahey's raider if he produces a similar effort here. Another challenger fro the UK, Mijhaar, came right back to form when winning a Listed handicap at Hamilton last month and he makes more appeal than the O'Brien pair El Salvador and Ernest Hemingway but VOLEUSE DE COEURS is fancied to land this for the home team. Though beaten by El Salvador in a tactical affair at Limerick in April, Dermot Weld's filly allowed her old rival first run that day and was closing at the finish. She's won easily at Navan since and can turn the table here.
Regal Power, Brown Butterfly and Mona Brown were all a little disappointing last time but the first-named did have Lake George behind when scoring over 6f here earlier in the month. Enigma Code is running well while Rain God should have benefited from his run at Naas and the blinkers are back on here. TARGET ACQUIRED was just outstayed by Mordanmijobsworth at Naas on Wednesday so the drop back to 7f, the distance over which he won at Cork earlier, should suit and he can take advantage of his low weight. Eastern Rules has never won on Turf but could have place claims and Chester scorer Bethany Bay looks best of the rest.
Unbeaten in his last five starts, Style Vendome won the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp last month beating Anodin, Pearl Flute and Havana Gold. The latter pair are in the same ownership as ANNA'S PEARL, so it looks significant that Jamie Spencer has opted for Ralph Beckett's colt. Last year's second in the Group 1 Criterium at Saint-Cloud suggested he has the ability to mix it at this level and he could go close at a big price. Ballydoyle's Lines Of Battle is not certain to be suited by the drop back in trip but German 2000 Guineas winner, Peace At Last, should give a good account in the forecast soft ground.