06/27/2008 11:00PM

Promising Lead captures Pretty Polly


Promising Lead lived up to the high promise she had been showing of late with a convincing victory in the Group 1, $391,000 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

By Danehill out of a Kahyasi mare who is a full sister to the world's leading broodmare, Hasili, Promising Lead was content to sit in second place, well behind the breakneck early pace of the Aidan O'Brien-trained rabbit Ice Queen. Approaching the quarter pole, she took the lead under Ryan Moore, then held off a game challenge from Mad About You to cross the line a 1 1/4-length winner. Anna Pavlova was another 4 1/2 lengths back in third, but Finsceal Beo - running on just 12 days' rest, and stepping up from a mile to 1 1/4 miles after her third-place finish against males in the Queen Anne Stakes - weakened to finish eighth of nine, beaten 24 lengths. The 2-1 choice, Promising Lead covered the 10 furlongs on yielding ground in 2:06.82.

Trained by Michael Stoute for Juddmonte Farms, Promising Lead was beaten only a head by Satwa Queen in last October's Group 1 Prix de l'Opera, just the fifth start of Promising Lead's career. Put away for the winter, she returned with a bang when winning the Group 3 Middleton Stakes at York last month by 3 3/4 lengths, serving notice that a Group 1 score was well within her range. In winning the Pretty Polly, Promising Lead joins company with the last two winners, Peeping Fawn and Alexander Goldrun, and must be considered a prime contender for the next two big 1 1/4-mile filly and mare races in Europe: the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on Aug. 2, and the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp on Oct. 5.

Later on the program, defending European champion stayer Septimus began a 5-year-old campaign that could culminate in the Melbourne Cup with a comfortable 2 1/2-length victory at 1-2 odds in the Group 3 Curragh Cup. Trained by O'Brien and ridden by Johnny Murtagh, Septimus, a son of Sadler's Wells, covered the 1 3/4 miles in 3:07.17.