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Pretty Polly Stakes: Bluestocking pounces on Emily Upjohn for Curragh glory

Bluestocking swooped late to grab the Group One honours in the Cairn Community Games Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

The Ralph Beckett-trained filly twice finished second at the highest level last term, beaten half a length in the Irish Oaks by Savethelastdance and just a neck by Poptronic in the Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot.

Having opened her campaign with a six-length Middleton Stakes triumph and with the Curragh ground easing all afternoon, Bluestocking was sent off a well-supported 11-10 favourite in the hands of Rossa Ryan, who managed to get his mount settled in behind as Lumiere Rock set the early gallop.

It looked as though Kieran Shoemark had made a race-winning move as he went for home on Emily Upjohn two furlongs out, quickly building up a couple of lengths advantage.

Bluestocking was only just getting going, though, and she reeled in the leader through the final furlong, eventually passing the post half a length clear, with Content nearly four lengths further back in third.

“It was great. Rossa had an inkling that Emily Upjohn might go forward at some point. In a way it helped us, in a way it was tough for her to run down but it gave us something to aim at,” said Beckett.

“It’s great to get it done. Last Irish Oaks Day will live long in the memory for the wrong reasons but it doesn’t matter now.”

Beckett opted to leave the cheekpieces off Bluestocking this time and explained: “We thought about it but last time she travelled so well through the race we thought we’d leave them. We have the right to put them back on of course.

“I thought she was always going to get there in the end, I thought she was always going to pick up, as she finds plenty under pressure.”

Bluestocking was cut for a range of summer highlights and is 5-2 favourite with Betfair for the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and the same price for the Yorkshire Oaks.

Beckett added: “You’d think the Nassau is the right place to go and she clearly enjoys York, she’s run well twice there, so the Yorkshire Oaks will probably be a good idea as well.

“I don’t think trip is that important, I just think conditions have to be right and they were today.”

Bluestocking runs in the colours of Juddmonte, with the filly hailing from one of the owner-breeder’s established families.

European racing manager Barry Mahon said: “The dam (Emulous) won the Matron in Leopardstown, so she was a high-class filly. She had speed to win a Group One over a mile.

“Last year, we sat down at the end of the season and felt we probably stretched the filly a little bit with a mile and a half and I think she’s a revelation this year back over 10 furlongs.

“This means a lot to Juddmonte. We have two bases here in Ireland and a lot of staff. It means a lot to Prince Khalid’s family and all the staff. It’s a great result and we’re very happy.”

Ryan was thrilled to strike Group One gold and said: “It is brilliant!

“She had to dig deep with me and I thought Kieran had gone on me.

“We hadn’t gone overly quick and my plan was to take a lead off one. I didn’t think I would get shuffled back that far but, by God, she’s tough.

“I’m so delighted really for everyone at home in Kimpton – they are the unsung heroes. Eric, who looks after him, is not here today, but he definitely deserves it.”

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