Blackbeard tries to bounce back from Ascot with Railway victory

Concert Hall could emerge on top in Pretty Polly generation clash

A couple of extra days recovery time might be crucial to the outcome of Saturday’s main support event at the Curragh’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby programme.

Half of the six runners in the Group Two Gain Railway Stakes are turning out again quickly having run at Royal Ascot last week.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of them is Michael O’Callaghan’s Crispy Cat who was involved in a hugely controversial finish to the Norfolk Stakes.

O’Callaghan still suspects his runner should have won rather than finishing third after being badly hampered by The Ridler in the closing stages.

“Who knows whether he would have won or not but we feel he might have and if we’ve got a horse we feel possibly should have won the Norfolk he should take a beating in the Railway,” he said.

Just nine days after that effort, Crispy Cat gets his chance to right the wrong on the home ground but faces a pair of Ballydoyle hopes who have had two days extra to get over their own Ascot efforts in the Coventry Stakes.

Blackbeard ran fourth to Bradsell in that race on day one of Ascot having started favourite while Age Of Kings was seventh.

It was notable how Blackbeard raced away from what emerged as the speed of the race and was running on well at the finish.

Proven at the six furlong trip, he can also boast a narrow defeat Crispy Cat at the Curragh earlier this season, and could emerge on top once again.

For a horse that started the season sprinting, Straight Answer ran on particularly well over seven furlongs in the Ballycrous Stakes when runner up to his stable companion Dr Zempf.

Rather than speed it looked like a mile was what Straight Answer was crying out for and he gets it in Saturday’s Listed Celebration Stakes.

Wexford Native emerges best on figures but must bounce back from a lacklustre effort in the St James’s Palace last time.

Sunday’s Group One Curragh highlight is the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes featuring four of the classic generation against a handful of their elders.

The older brigade include the Prix d’Ispahan winner Dreamloper who is joined in a three-pronged cross-channel raid by William Haggas’s pair, My Astra and Purplepay.

Miss Astra boasts a lofty rating based on a 12 length romp in a Listed contest in Ayr and will appreciate like a weather outlook predicting up to 10mms of rainfall before Sunday’s action.

However, Tom Marquand has opted for the $2 million purchase Purplepay who won easily in a Group Two at Chantilly last time.

Older fillies and mares have held an edge in the Pretty Polly in recent years but Concert Hall may be up to reversing that tackling this intermediate trip.

Third to Homeless Songs in the Curragh Guineas last month she subsequently ran fourth to Tuesday in the Oaks and can make the most of a significant 12lbs weight for age allowance.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column