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12 Aug 2022

'I hope she will handle the trip' - Purplepay to bid for Group One glory at Sunday's race

'I hope she will handle the trip' - Purplepay to bid for Group One glory at Sunday's race

William Haggas also saddles My Astra in Curragh feature

William Haggas is hoping Purplepay will appreciate an extra quarter of a mile as she bids for Group One glory in the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Purplepay has run just twice for the Newmarket handler since switching from Cedric Rossi’s Marseille stable, having been being bought by Lael Stables for €2million at the Arqana December foals and mares sale.

A close third to Angel Bleu on her final start for Rossi in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October, the daughter of French Group One winner Zarak was beaten seven lengths when sixth to Homeless Songs in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her stable debut following a seven-month break.

She backed up that impressive outing with a resounding success in the Group Two Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly three weeks ago.

Haggas has been pleased with her recent work and says big-race jockey Tom Marquand thinks she will handle her first try over 10 furlongs.

“She has done nothing wrong since we have had her,” said Haggas.

“She is a charming filly. It is obviously her first time at the trip. Tom is quite keen that she tries it.

“I hope she will handle the trip, but you never quite know until you try. They way she ran over a mile as a two-year-old suggests she will be fine at a mile and a quarter.

“She ran a great race in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her return and we were very pleased with that.”

Haggas also saddles My Astra, a daughter of Lope De Vega, who has won three of her four outings on turf, including an eyecatching 12-length success on her last start in the 10-furlong Listed Rothesay Stakes at Ayr last month.

Haggas added: “We had her in at Newcastle on Friday, but we always wanted to run her on grass.

“We just were not sure about the weather, but rain is forecast.

“So we plumped for the Curragh. She is up in class and she has only won a Listed race, but she is very well and we hope she will run well.”

Nine fillies go to post for the valuable prize including Dreamloper, who tackles this trip for the first time as she bids to back up her Prix d’Ispahan success and give trainer Ed Walker a second top-class victory in the space of a month.


Dreamloper bids to back up her recent top-class success for Ed Walker

Oaks fourth Concert Hall represents Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race five times, while son Joseph seeks a third success in four years, relying upon Tranquil Lady, who was a couple of places further back in the Epsom Classic.

Paddy Twomey may hold the strongest hand of the home guard, saddling both La Petite Coco and Rosscarbery.

The latter notched up her fourth consecutive win of the season in the Group Three Munster Oaks at Cork earlier this month, while La Petite Coco makes her return following a fruitful three-year-old campaign which produced four wins in her last five starts, including when downing dual Classic winner Love in the Blandford Stakes over course and distance.

Though she has not run since mid-September, Twomey is hopeful she will come on for the outing with a back-end campaign being mapped out.

“That’s the question (whether she will lack for a little fitness),” said Twomey. “She is a lovely filly and the plan has been very much to campaign her with the second half of the season in mind.

“She didn’t miss a beat last year and we couldn’t be happier with her.”

He added: “Rosscarbery has done nothing wrong and she’s also declared.”

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