10/05/2017 2:26PM

Roly Poly looks to rebound in Sun Chariot


Closing steadily on Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Grade 1 or Group 1 winners in a year, Aidan O’Brien has a live chance to notch another top-level victory in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes on Saturday at Newmarket.

O’Brien landed two more Group 1 wins last Sunday at Chantilly, bringing his 2017 total to 22. One of those tallies came in the Prix de l’Opera for fillies and mares, a race in which O’Brien ran one-two with Rhododendron and Hydrangea. O’Brien is so deep in the division that Roly Poly stands a good chance in the Sun Chariot, a one-mile filly-and-mare race.

Winter is the leading 3-year-old filly in O’Brien’s yard, but Roly Poly is very good, too. A horse who likes to lead, Roly Poly has Group 1 wins in the Falmouth Stakes – run over Newmarket’s July Course rather than the Rowley Mile course used Saturday, but still a straight mile – and the Prix Rothschild, a straight mile at Deauville in which Roly Poly scored a narrow victory.

Perhaps the demanding Rothschild took something out of Roly Poly, who gave way tamely and finished sixth Sept. 9 in the Group 1 Matron at Leopardstown.

Hydrangea won the Matron by a head over Winter, and less than a length behind those two came Persuasive, who appears to be in a good spot to win her first race of 2017 in the Sun Chariot. Trained by John Gosden, Persuasive won her first five races before finishing second behind a very strong performance from Alice Springs in the 2016 Matron. Persuasive didn’t make her first start this season until the Rothschild, and her third race back on Saturday could be her time to shine.

Quemah ranked among the best European 3-year-old fillies of 2016, but has not raced as strongly this season. Usherette ended her 2016 campaign strongly but has nothing better than third-place finishes to show for her group stakes races this season. On the other side of the coin, Aljazzi, a 4-year-old trained by Marco Botti, comes off the two best races of her life and is the horse with the best chance of knocking off Roly Poly and Persuasive.

Arrogate still ranked No. 1

Arrogate, at 134, remains the highest-rated horse on the latest update of the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings. The rankings are based on single performances, and Arrogate hit his highest mark this year in the Dubai World Cup.

Enable moved up from a 125 for her King George win to a 128 for her Arc victory over Cloth of Stars last weekend, and has the third-highest rating behind Arrogate and Winx at 132. World Approval is up to 123 for his Woodbine Mile win, while West Coast’s Pennsylvania Derby was rated a 122 and Beach Patrol’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic a 121.