Iridessa stuns big names in Fillies Mile at Newmarket

Iridessa stuns big names in Fillies\ Mile at Newmarket
Bell star Pretty Pollyanna bids to shine in red-hot Fillies Mile | Horse Racing News
The bet365 Fillies Mile provides a fascinating first-day highlight on what is billed as the Future Champions meeting.

The pick of seven races live on ITV4, the Group 1 £500,000 feature could provide some important Classic pointers for next year, as well as giving big opportunities to the likes of Danny Tudhope and Harry Bentley, who are not regulars on the Group 1 stage.

Pretty Pollyanna, winner of the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes and Prix Morny during the summer, was bidding to bounce back from a slightly disappointing effort in the Cheveley Park a fortnight ago and looked the likeliest winner when cruising to the lead under Danny Tudhope.

Star fillies Oh So Sharp, Reams Of Verse, Minding and Laurens, who scored last year, are among the previous winners of this race, which was transferred from Ascot to Newmarket in 2011.

O'Brien added: "She's definitely well entitled to line up in it (1000 Guineas). Being by Ruler Of The World, she's probably more of an Oaks filly, but we'll get today out of the way and worry about that when the time comes.

Joseph OBriens Iridessa takes Fillies Mile

Tudhope replaces Silvestre de Sousa on Pretty Pollyanna, and both he and trainer Michael Bell will be hoping she can put her Cheveley Park Stud Stakes defeat firmly behind her.

"She ran well in the Curragh in a very messy race and then got drawn almost widest of all at Leopardstown, so on her last two runs she never got a fair crack at it really. Today was a fairly-run race and she showed how good she is.

Clear ante-post favourite for the 1,000 Guineas after landing the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August, the daughter of Oasis Dream has to prove her stamina stepped up to a mile from six furlongs.

Bell said: “It’s a step up in trip and it will be interesting to see how she gets on. Im very happy with her preparation. For a filly at this time in October shes looking in very good condition.

"She looked as though she got the trip and it opens up options for next year. It was her first time running beyond six furlongs, so it was a different style of racing, but she has run a very good race.

“She has the best form in the race over six furlongs, but she has to go another 33 per cent further. It will be an interesting test.”

Harry Bentley gets the chance to impress on the big stage aboard Antonia De Vega, who is unbeaten in two races for Ralph Beckett.

However, tackling a mile for the first time, she gave best inside the final furlong and it was left for Iridessa and Aidan O'Brien's 5-2 favourite Hermosa to fight it out.

The Waverley Racing-owned filly has stayed on strongly to win at Newmarket and Goodwood over seven furlongs, giving every indication there will be even better to come at this trip.

Iridessa quickened up best and was always doing enough to hold Hermosa at bay by a length and a half. Pretty Pollyanna was another three-quarters of a length back in third. 

Bookmakers certainly agree, as Antonia De Vega disputed favouritism on Thursday with the Aidan O’Brien pair Hermosa and Zagitova, and Beckett believes she is primed to take the step up.

"She did it well and Wayne gave her a great ride. She travelled well and I thought she quickened up well. We're delighted.

“She’s in good shape,” he said. “I hope we get a drop more rain. I could have done without her being drawn on the wing, but I’m confident she’ll be competitive.”  

Aidan O’Brien, who has landed three of the last four runnings via Rhododendron (2016), Minding (2015) and Together Forever (2014), has two strong contenders in Hermosa, the mount of Donnacha O’Brien, and Zagitova, who will be partnered by Seamie Heffernan.

Aidan O'Brien said of Hermosa: "She ran a lovely race and we were delighted. We will train her for the Classics.

Hermosa and Zagitova look closely matched on form. Hermosa appeared ready for a step up in trip when staying on strongly to win a Group 3 over seven furlongs at Naas last time, while Zagitova, sent off at 4-1, finished fourth in the Moyglare last time, one place behind 20-1 shot Hermosa.

She looked to have her work cut out stepped up to Group One level, but struck gold at 14-1 in the hands of Wayne Lordan.

O’Brien said: “Hermosa has been in good form since her Group 3 win at Naas. Shes progressed from race to race and hopefully will progress again here. Going up to a mile shouldn’t be a problem.”

"I think she is versatile enough. That was good to firm ground today and I would say she would handle soft ground.

He added: “We think Zagitova has come on since running fourth in the Moyglare and that going back to a mile will suit her.”

"We'll enjoy today and give her a nice break through the winter and dream about next year."

O’Brien’s son Joseph is represented by Iridessa, third in a Leopardstown Listed event last time, and the mount of Wayne Lordan.

"It is early to say, but a (Guineas) trial would make sense as that would be over seven furlongs.

“She’s in good form at home and had a good run at Leopardstown from an extremely bad draw,” O’Brien said. “She did well to finish third that day.

“The step up to a mile should suit and a drop of rain wouldn’t do her any harm either.”

Shambolic, one of two unbeaten fillies in the line-up, takes a huge rise in class after landing a mile novice event at Ascot last month by half a length from Model Guest.

That runner-up subsequently performed well when fourth of nine to Just Wonderful in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes, and it would be no surprise to see her take another significant step forward in terms of form.

Trainer John Gosden said: “She’s two from two after winning on the July Course and at Ascot so should be fine on the undulations.

“This has been the plan for some time and, although it’s a big step up in class, she deserves to take her chance.

Charlie Appleby is hoping the return to a fast surface will see Beyond Reason prove herself a Group 1 filly after disappointing on her first venture in that company in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh last month.

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