06/27/2002 12:00AM

English flock to Curragh stakes


LONDON - English trainers look very serious about the two group races at The Curragh on Saturday. They supply five of the 12 starters in the Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes and seven out of 12 in the Group 3 Curragh Cup.

The Pretty Polly is for fillies and mares over 1 1/4 miles. A trio of 4-year-old fillies is led by Tarfshi and Spring Oak, first and second in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket on May 3, while the rest of the field are 3. They include the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair of Kournakova and Maryinsky, as well as Esloob, all of whom finished a very long way behind Kazzia in the 1 1/2-mile Epsom Oaks three weeks ago.

Fraulein, a close fourth to Irresistible Jewel in Royal Ascot's Ribblesdale Stakes on June 20, is another dropping back a quarter-mile. She and Tarfshi, who ran last of four in a Group 3 at Sandown after her Dahlia win, are the best of the English, while Pietra Dura, yet another O'Brien charge, has the best chance of holding them at bay.

In the 1 3/4-mile Curragh Cup, Boreas, second in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup on May 16, has an ideal opportunity.