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Strong British raid on Pretty Polly


Secret Gesture (right)

Secret Gesture (right)

Secret Gesture (right)

Secret Gesture and Ribbons will do battle for the second time this season in the Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

The Ralph Beckett-trained Secret Gesture finally claimed the Group-race she had long promised when making a winning reappearance in last month's Middleton Stakes at York, with Ribbons a creditable third for James Fanshawe.

Both fillies head to Ireland for an enthralling renewal of the 10-furlong Group One, with Classic winners Legatissimo and Pleascach taking on the older brigade for the first time.

Beckett said: " She has come out of her York win in good shape and the Pretty Polly is a race we felt would suit her.

"We think the Curragh is a track that will be right up her street. It was a good performance at York and if she produces that again she will be in the mix."

Ribbons landed the Group One Prix Jean Romanet last season but has a well-documented preference for give in the ground.

Dan Downie, racing manager for owners the Elite Racing Club, said: "She's come on for her run at York and everyone is really happy with her. She's in really good order.

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"There is some rain forecast for Saturday night and we could obviously do with that. This race has been the plan for a while as we hoped she'd get her ground.

"She is so ground dependent it's difficult to make plans for the rest of the year. She has an entry in the Nassau at Goodwood and I'm sure we'll look at going back to France later in the year."

The Ed Walker-trained Mutatis Mutandis is a third British challenger and takes a significant step up in class following a handicap victory at Windsor and a Listed race triumph at Nottingham.

Walker said: "We have taken a bit of a punt by putting her in the Pretty Polly and fair play to the owners for stumping up the money to supplement her. There was no real alternatives and we really wanted to give her another run.

"This race will answer questions on whether we go down an international route with her or stay at home. If she runs very well we could go for something like the Nassau and the Yorkshire Oaks, or if she is not quite good enough, we could try and win something like the Beverly D. Stakes, which would be a bit of an easier race on turf in that grade. It is a fact-finding mission.

"The race at Nottingham didn't go to plan. Luke Morris gave her a fantastic ride as he was bumped early on and was further back than we wanted to be.

"She is in great nick ahead of Ireland and for the last two years we have thought the world of her."

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