06/22/2010 12:00AM

Monterosso taking shot at Irish Derby


Monterosso, the ex-handicapper who won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday, will be supplemented to Sunday's Irish Derby and run in the 1 1/2-mile classic on just nine days' rest. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed's son Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum, the Mark Johnston-trained Monterosso increases the prospective size of the derby field to 11, but it will not include Epsom Derby winner Workforce, who will wait for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on July 24.

Monterosso has improved by leaps and bounds since landing a minor one-mile handicap on the Lingfield Park Polytrack on Feb. 6. He has won 5 of his last 6 starts, culminating in his handy 2 1/4-length score in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 2 King Edward VII.

Aidan O'Brien has five of the 11 still in the Irish Derby field at the five-day entry stage. They are led by Epsom Derby runner-up At First Stage, who might not run off his fading fourth in the King Edward VII, plus Jan Vermeer and Midas Touch, who were fourth and fifth in the Epsom classic. Group 2 Dante Stakes winner Cape Blanco, a Galileo colt who was 10th as the favorite in the French Derby, will be trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time.

Saturday's 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, the first major non-sprint race of the European season in which 3-year-olds are pitched in against older horses, has lost its favorite Sariska. Last year's English Oaks winner, and second to Fame and Glory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom on June 4, Sariska has been ruled out of the filly and mare contest by trainer Michael Bell due to the prevailing good to firm ground. She is under consideration for another try against males in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park on July 3 when she could run into Dubai Sheema Classic winner Dar Re Mi and last Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes runner-up, Twice Over. Bell also announced that Sariska, a 4-year-old daughter of Pivotal bred and owned by Lady Bamford, has the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf as her ultimate objective.

* The first four finishers from Saturday's Golden Jubilee Stakes are slated to meet again in the six-furlong, Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket on July 9. Starspangledbanner, Society Rock, the Carl O'Callaghan-trained Kinsale King, and defending July Cup titleholder Fleeting Spirit will all be back. Improvement is expected from both Kinsale King, who was running for the first time since his Dubai Golden Shaheen victory on March 27, and Fleeting Spirit, who ran in the Golden Jubilee off a 7 1/2-month absence, since her seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. She also ran on the slower far side of the course in the Golden Jubilee.