Iridessa bounces back in style to take Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh
Joseph O’Brien-trained filly claims second Group One of her career
Jockey Wayne Lordan on Iridessa (left) win the Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Iridessa bounced back to her very best to spring a surprise in the Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained filly had ended her juvenile campaign on a high with victory in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket, but had fallen short at the highest level in both the English and Irish 1,000 Guineas after being beaten on her seasonal debut.
However, she showed her true colours to land the second Group One success of her career.
Magic Wand was the first to lead, but Wild Illusion went on seven furlongs out until into the straight.
Magic Wand regained the advantage, but Wayne Lordan produced Iridessa (8-1) with a well-timed run to assert in the final furlong and cross the line two and a quarter lengths to the good.
Pink Dogwood, trained like the runner-up by Aidan O’Brien, was a never-dangerous third. Charlie Appleby’s Wild Illusion faded into fourth, with the David Lanigan-trained Worth Waiting last of the five.
“She won very well and it was a huge performance. Wayne gave her a lovely ride and the race worked out well for her. I’m over the moon,” said O’Brien.
“It was very strong race. There wasn’t a big field, but there were some very very good fillies in the race.
“We were hopeful, and confident of a good run from her. The lads at home felt that she was as good as she has been all year.
“Obviously the step up in distance was a big help to her as well.
“It was fairly obvious from her pedigree that she should step up once she went up in trip, but obviously you don’t always know that until you do it.
“She ran well here in the Guineas. She had to battle for her position through the race and she still ran on well.
“She seemed to improve as she went on last year and naturally she carries condition and she’s strong and hardy.
“That’s obviously a career-best again today and she’s progressed with each run so far this year.”
O’Brien is understandably thinking of the Kerrygold-sponsored Irish Oaks next.
“We’ll see how she comes out of this. Obviously against her own age group it would probably make sense to go to the Oaks,” he said.
“It would be the logical step, but at the same time she won today like a pacey filly. We’ll get her home and have the conversation then.”
Iridessa was given a quote of 6-1 for the Irish Oaks with Paddy Power.
Twilight Payment dug deep to see off all-comers in the Comer Group International Curragh Cup.
There was drama before the Group Two contest got under way when the stands were briefly evacuated due to a fire alarm.
It delayed proceedings by nine minutes, but there were no such problems in the race for jockey Kevin Manning and Twilight Payment, as Jim Bolger’s six-year-old made most of the running.
Latrobe, the 2018 Irish Derby hero, looked a serious threat in the straight, but there was no stopping the 7-1 chance, who held on by a neck to go two places better than 12 months ago.
The Luke Comer-owned and trained Raa Atoll, representing the race sponsors, was two and three-quarter lengths away in third.
“He’s a great looker and he has the ability to match the looks,” said Bolger.
“We’ll aim him at the Irish Leger and he’ll probably go for the trial race before that. It’s amazing, he’s a six-year-old and he’s still improving.”
Twilight Payment was given a quote of 50-1 for the Melbourne Cup with Paddy Power.