Stay Alert connections lodge Pretty Polly appeal

Connections of Stay Alert have lodged an appeal against the decision of the Curragh stewards not to reverse the placings in Saturday’s Group One Pretty Polly Stakes.

The Hughie Morrison-trained four-year-old was beaten two lengths by George Boughey’s Via Sistina in the 10-furlong contest, but the Jamie Spencer-ridden winner hampered a number of rivals in the closing stages.

The interference occurred as the field approached the final furlong when Via Sistina hung right into the path of eventual fourth Rosscarbery, with jockey Billy Lee forced to check his mount, while the Ronan Whelan-ridden Stay Alert was also tightened up by the winner.

While the Irish Horseracing Authority Regulatory Board confirmed Spencer has appealed the severity of the six-day ban for careless riding he received following the race, Morrison felt the incident had proved crucial to the result.

He said: “The connections have appealed. As he (Spencer) pulled that horse out, it was hanging right.

“He then continued to ride it for possibly a furlong and he didn’t make any correction until he’d seriously endangered two horses and two jockeys.

“If they can tell me they didn’t feel endangered, then end of story. It was hanging all the way and should have been corrected at least 100 metres before the incidents took place.

“When you get stopped in your run when you are quickening up and you have 100 yards to make up three lengths, you are lucky to make up one.

“Any other sport and you’d be thrown out, more so because the fourth horse (Rosscarbery) was prevented from coming third, which was quite significant when you are talking about a Group One.”

Stay Alert had won the Group Three Legacy Cup at Newbury in September and had dropped back in trip on her seasonal bow when fifth to Free Wind in the Middleton at York in May.

Equipped with a first-time tongue strap, she travelled well and showed marked improvement at the Curragh, and Morrison added: “It helped her, made her concentrate and did everything we expected it to do. I don’t think she has a wind issue, it just helped her concentrate on the job.

“She showed how good she is. She is in the Yorkshire Oaks and there are a couple of races in France. Those are in the middle of August – there is nothing else for her.

“She could go for a colts’ race somewhere, that might be tempting, but you never know what the ground will be like in Germany, and you’d like to win a big race before you go to France.

“This was the target for her all year, so it was frustrating. We got everything right, but hit the crossbar. We’d like to win a good one and we’d like a clean fight as well.”

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