06/29/2012 12:48PM

Europe: Was leads O'Brien trio in Pretty Polly at the Curragh


Led by English Oaks winner Was, trainer Aidan O’Brien has a formidable trio of 3-year-old fillies by Galileo in Sunday’s Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland.

The race may have ramifications for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. The $240,000 Pretty Polly Stakes is part of the Breeders’ Cup’s Challenge program, offering a fees-paid berth to the BC Filly and Mare Turf to the winner, provided she is nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program.

Was, who will be ridden by Seamie Heffernan, is joined in the Pretty Polly by stablemates Up, second in the French 1000 Guineas and seventh in the French Oaks, and Maybe, a four-time stakes winner at 2 last year, but third in the English 1000 Guineas and fifth in the English Oaks.

If the O’Brien team falters, fillies such as Izzi Top or Sapphire can provide the upset in the field of seven.

Izzi Top, trained by John Gosden, has won stakes at Newmarket (Grade 3 Dahlia Stakes) and York (Grade 2 Middleton Stakes) this year. Sapphire, trained by Dermot Weld, won the Group 3 Noblesse Stakes at Cork, Ireland, on June 17, in her 2012 debut.

There are three Group 1 races in as many countries in Europe on Sunday.

In France, Gosden starts Gregorian in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat for 3-year-olds over a mile at Chantilly.

Gregorian, a colt by Clodovil, was third in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19. The $504,000 Prix Jean Prat for 3-year-old colts and fillies drew a field of eight, including Casper Netscher, the winner of the German 2000 Guineas on May 28, and French Fifteen, who was second in the English 2000 Guineas, but 10th in the French Derby on June 3.

In the $630,000 German Derby over about 1 1/2 miles on turf at Hamburg, Novellist, a colt by Monsun, will be favored to win his third stakes of the year.

The German Derby, restricted to colts and fillies, drew a field of 15, including Black Arrow, a listed stakes winner in Germany earlier this year who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, and Feuerblitz, the winner of the Italian Derby on May 20.