10/07/2017 1:04PM

Roly Poly possible for Breeders' Cup following Sun Chariot Stakes win


Roly Poly can take her racing. Eight-times started last year at age 2, the eighth start of her 3-year-old season Saturday at Newmarket Racecourse produced a strong win in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes.

It was Roly Poly’s third Group 1 victory of the year following wins in the Prix Rothschild and the Falmouth Stakes. For trainer Aidan O’Brien, the Sun Chariot marked Group 1 win number 23 during 2017, leaving him just two short of Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group or Grade 1 victories in a calendar year.

With the QIPCO British Champion card and the Breeders’ Cup still to come, and with O’Brien heavily represented in both events, the record seems likely to fall.

Roly Poly herself could be part of the Breeders’ Cup program with O’Brien saying that despite her heavy workload this year the filly might well be pointed to the BC Filly and Mare Turf. O’Brien has at least two other possible runners in that race in Prix de l’Opera first- and second-place finishers Rhododendron and Hydrangea.

Following consecutive Group 1 wins in the Falmouth and Rothschild, Roly Poly thudded back to earth with a sixth-place finish Sept. 9 in the Group 1 Matron at Leopardstown, but whatever caused that below-par performance was nowhere to be found Saturday.

Roly Poly broke from the widest starting-gate stall but was aggressively ridden by Ryan Moore (too aggressively in the eyes of the Newmarket judges, who gave Moore a two-day suspension for interference) to cross over and get to the front within the first half-furlong. Longshot Dawn of Hope held the stands’ side rail, pressured Roly Poly much of the trip, and put her head in front with a quarter-mile or so left to run. But while climbing uphill toward the finish, Roly Poly reasserted, getting back in front of Dawn of Hope and surging clear from favored Persuasive, who had bird-dogged her the entire trip.

Roly Poly hit the finish 1 1/4 lengths in front of runner-up Persuasive, who had the same margin on third-place Nathra. Usherette ran pretty well, coming from far back and through traffic to finish fourth, beaten a head for third. Roly Poly was timed in 1:34.88 for the straight mile over good going.

Roly Poly now is 6-4-0 from 16 starts. She’s by War Front and out of the Galileo mare Misty For Me. Her 2-year-old full brother U S Navy Flag won the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes last weekend at Newmarket.