Via Sistina in cruise control for Pretty Polly triumph

Via Sistina led home a one-two for the British raiders when storming to a Group One triumph in the Yulong Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

Trained by George Boughey, the five-year-old arrived in Ireland having seen her impressive Newmarket win over Al Husn franked at Newcastle in the Hoppings Stakes, and the mount of Jamie Spencer was sent off the 6-4 favourite to give the Saffron House handler a first Irish win.

Spencer was in no rush aboard the progressive daughter of Fastnet Rock and had Via Sistina anchored alongside fellow raider, Hughie Morrison’s Stay Alert, in the early stages as Trevaunance and Above The Curve disputed matters at the head of proceedings.

There was little change in the order until the runners straightened for home, when both Ronan Whelan aboard Stay Alert and the big-race favourite began to plot a route to the front and it was Via Sistina who made the eyecatching progress when shown daylight by Spencer.

With energy to burn she was soon alongside Above The Curve disputing the lead with a furlong to run and although hanging right and causing interference to both the Rosscarbery and the eventual third Above The Curve in the process of making her challenge, she was full of running at the finish as she crossed the line with a two-length advantage over Stay Alert.

A stewards’ inquiry was called due to the interference in the aftermath, but the result remained unaltered as Spencer bagged Group One victories on successive Saturdays following last week’s shock success in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes aboard Khaadem.

He said: “I had a plan to jump smartly, get up behind Ryan (Moore, on Above The Curve) third or fourth. She didn’t jump and my first thing was to get out and don’t get stuck down the fence. I was on about Plan E at that stage.

“She leaned in a bit early in the straight and obviously halfway down the straight, but she was much the best. I only had to give her one flick and she had her ears pricked the last furlong.”

As well as a first winner in Ireland for Boughey, it was the first time Via Sistina has struck at the highest level and options look open with Coral going 3-1 from 7-1 for the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, while Paddy Power gave quotes of 5-2 from 4-1 for Newmarket’s Falmouth Stakes and 10-1 for the Yorkshire Oaks.

Delighted owner Stephen Hillen said: “It doesn’t happen like that very often.

“That’s probably as fast a ground as she wants to run on. Jamie said they went really quick, he said he missed the break and was a bit far out of her ground.

“She’s that big she wears a rug for stalls entry and when you wear a rug they are always a bit slow away.

“He was a bit further back than he wanted to be, but he just said when she comes good she’s just much better than them.”

On plans, he said: “She’s very versatile, I think she can go a mile to a mile and a half. She likes going in a straight line as well so she could go to the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

“After that there is the Nassau and she’ll be in most of the big races. She’s in the Yorkshire Oaks and the International at York.

“You wouldn’t be risking her on anything with ‘firm’ in it.”

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