Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes
Fillies Group 1, Curragh 15:40
Winner: €250,000
1m 2f   
Sunday 27th June 2021

1 Thundering Nights 16/5
2 Santa Barbara 3/1
3 Cayenne Pepper 11/4F
8 ran Distances: nk, 2½l, ¾l
Time: 2m 8.72s (slow by 3.12s)

Thundering Nights held off the fast-finishing Santa Barbara in an exciting finish at the Curragh.

In action in America at Belmont just 23 days ago when beaten a nose in a Grade Two by Mean Mary, Thundering Nights was taking her form to a new level.

Santa Barbara, meanwhile, was running in her third Group One of the season and having been the beaten favourite in both the 1000 Guineas and Oaks she displayed the talent that had Aidan O’Brien speaking so highly of her in the spring.

The improving Epona Plays set out to make the running and was only headed on entering the final furlong.

It was there that Shane Crosse decided to commit on Thundering Nights and she went over a length clear, but Ryan Moore had been biding his time on Santa Barbara and she gradually hit top gear, drawing level with Thundering Nights.

The two were locked together inside the final 100 yards – but in the final few strides Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old, who was conceding 12lb to her younger rival, just began to pull away and got the verdict by a neck.

The favourite Cayenne Pepper was two and a half lengths away in third, as Crosse claimed the second Group One success of his career following the victory of Pretty Gorgeous in the Fillies’ Mile last season.

Trainers Quotes

“She’s a great mare, she’s very tough and every time you ask her a question she rises to the occasion,” said O’Brien.

“She’s never run a bad race really and I’m delighted for Shapoor Mistry, the owner. I’m very proud of her.

“She always has a bit of a look around when she goes to the front and she did that again today, but when the other one came to her she really fought back.

“Broome just nabbed her here one day on the line, but she had an opportunity to fight back today and she did that.

“In America she would have won in another stride, the tight track caught her out a little bit as it was her first time around the bends over there.

“She had to spend a week after the race over there so she’s only been back a couple of weeks. She trained there for a week, then shipped straight back and came straight here. She has a great constitution.

“She has options back in America, like the Beverly D., and she also has the likes of the Nassau and Matron.

“She’s a Group One winner now so she’s a very exciting broodmare prospect no matter what happens.”

O’Brien added: “Shane deserved that because over the last couple of days a few things didn’t go well for him.

“That’s the way it goes in racing and you just have to remain confident and keep doing what you are doing. That’s what he’s done and he was rewarded.”

Trainers Quotes

Aidan O’Brien was also pleased with the effort of Santa Barbara.

“I’m delighted she ran well, I was very happy with her,” he said.

“After Epsom we were hoping it was the trip and the ground and it looks like she wants a mile or a mile-and-a-quarter as she’s not short of pace.

“She did everything right, Joseph’s filly was very unlucky in America the last day and she’s tough. When she got to her she didn’t surrender and his horses are running well.

“We were thinking of going to the Nassau with Joan Of Arc and maybe to split them up this filly could have the option of going to the Belmont Oaks in a couple of weeks time. That’s one option.

“She’s a big powerful filly and hopefully she’ll be there for next year as well.”

Pretty Polly Stakes (Fillies' Group 1)
Winner: €250,000, 3yo plus, 1m 2f, Class 1
8 ran
Going: Good to Firm, Good in places

1 (7)     Thundering Nights 4 9-12 Joseph O'Brien Shane Crosse 16/5
2 (5)
nk Santa Barbara 3 9-0 A P O'Brien Ryan Moore 3/1
3 (8)
Cayenne Pepper 4 9-12 Mrs John Harrington Shane Foley 11/4F
4 (6)
¾ Insinuendo 4 9-12 W McCreery Declan McDonogh 14/1
5 (2)
shd Epona Plays 4 9-12 W McCreery W J Lee 8/1
6 (1)
¾ Shale 3 9-0 Donnacha O'Brien Gavin Ryan 13/2
7 (3)
1 Silence Please 4 9-12 Mrs John Harrington Tom Madden 40/1
8 (4)
hd Oodnadatta 3 9-0 Mrs John Harrington Colin Keane 25/1