Minding wins the Pretty Polly Stakes with an RPR of 122
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos
MINDING is causing headaches for Aidan O’Brien. Her easy win in the Pretty Polly Stakes on Sunday marked her as possibly the best filly he has ever trained, which means she should be running in the best races in Europe.
The problem is O’Brien trains horses for Coolmore and they are in the game of making stallions. When you have horses like The Gurkha, US Army Ranger and Idaho all scrabbling around for Group 1 victories you don’t want a filly like Minding stealing their opportunities.
Up till now the plan has been to keep her out of the way in races restricted to fillies and mares. That’s the same thing O’Brien has done in the past with fillies like Alexandrova, Peeping Fawn, Misty For Me, Lillie Langtry and Halfway To Heaven – none of whom ran against males.
But Minding is potentially better than any of those star females and to fulfil that potential she should be contesting races like the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the Irish Champion and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. But her next step is expected to come in the Nassau Stakes, against females, which she should win easily.
More success to come
No matter how well she wins at Goodwood there is no suggestion of her taking on the boys before October. Because as long as her stablemates like Idaho, Deauville and US Army Ranger are chasing a first top-flight success there is no chance a five-time Group 1 winner like Minding will be allowed to take away their chance.
O’Brien waited until the Arc before putting Tapestry in against the boys in 2014 and that’s probably where Minding will get her first shot at the colts. It will be quite a step up considering the level of competition she has been facing, but she is quite a filly.
She won the 1,000 Guineas by daylight. In the Oaks she was shuffled back to last before charging home to win with authority. On Sunday she was up against her elders for the first time in the Pretty Polly and once again she scored with complete authority, posting a career best RPR of 122.
She has never had the opportunity to lay it all on the line off a strong pace, so we still don’t know how good she could be. She has already racked up one of the finest records from a filly in the last decade and considering O’Brien is eager to keep her in training next year there should be plenty more success to come.
Harzand below best
O’Brien hasn’t had the same degree of success with his colts this year. In fact, this was the first year since 2005 that he has failed to win either the Irish 2,000 Guineas or the Irish Derby.
Harzand came out best in the Irish Derby on Saturday, becoming the third horse in the last five years to secure the Derby-Irish Derby double after Australia and Camelot.
Dermot Weld was concerned that the Irish Derby may have come a week too soon for Harzand, who had a tough battle with US Army Ranger at Epsom and after slugging it out in another battle with a different Ballydoyle rival he could be set for a break.
Harzand ran below his Derby-winning best with an RPR of 121. The form simply wasn’t as strong as at Epsom, with six of his rivals getting a lot closer to him this time round.
He should be back in the autumn when he has had chance to recover from his classic wins and prepare for his big end-of-season target in the Arc. He could run in either the St Leger or Prix Niel en route and at his best he should win either race.
When it comes to the Arc he will have to improve on his Derby form to win, but there’s every chance he can dig out a few more pounds when he meets his elders for the first time. Especially under the favourable weight-for-age terms in France.
One horse he won’t have to beat in the Arc at Chantilly in October is Duramente, who picked up an injury in Japan on the weekend.
Duramente (122) was favourite for the Takarazuka Kinen on Sunday and he charged home late to be beaten a fast-diminishing neck by the mare Marialite (118). He slipped crossing the line, picking up an injury which ruled him out of a trip to France.
The bookies had considered him Japan’s leading player for the Arc, although World Class has long prefered the chances of Tokyo Yushun winner Makahiki.
TOP OF THE CLASS: Minding 122 Aidan O’Brien (Ire) (Pretty Polly, Curragh, 1m2f, 26 June)
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