Tag Archive for: My Astra

Purplepay steps up in search of Pretty Polly prize

William Haggas is hoping Purplepay will appreciate an extra quarter of a mile as she bids for Group One glory in the Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

Purplepay has run just twice for the Newmarket handler since switching from Cedric Rossi’s Marseille stable, having been being bought by Lael Stables for €2million at the Arqana December foals and mares sale.

A close third to Angel Bleu on her final start for Rossi in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October, the daughter of French Group One winner Zarak was beaten seven lengths when sixth to Homeless Songs in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her stable debut following a seven-month break.

She backed up that impressive outing with a resounding success in the Group Two Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly three weeks ago.

Haggas has been pleased with her recent work and says big-race jockey Tom Marquand thinks she will handle her first try over 10 furlongs.

“She has done nothing wrong since we have had her,” said Haggas.

“She is a charming filly. It is obviously her first time at the trip. Tom is quite keen that she tries it.

“I hope she will handle the trip, but you never quite know until you try. They way she ran over a mile as a two-year-old suggests she will be fine at a mile and a quarter.

“She ran a great race in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her return and we were very pleased with that.”

Haggas also saddles My Astra, a daughter of Lope De Vega, who has won three of her four outings on turf, including an eyecatching 12-length success on her last start in the 10-furlong Listed Rothesay Stakes at Ayr last month.

Haggas added: “We had her in at Newcastle on Friday, but we always wanted to run her on grass.

“We just were not sure about the weather, but rain is forecast.

“So we plumped for the Curragh. She is up in class and she has only won a Listed race, but she is very well and we hope she will run well.”

Nine fillies go to post for the valuable prize including Dreamloper, who tackles this trip for the first time as she bids to back up her Prix d’Ispahan success and give trainer Ed Walker a second top-class victory in the space of a month.

Dreamloper bids to back up her recent top-class success for Ed Walker
Dreamloper bids to back up her recent top-class success for Ed Walker (Steven Paston/PA)

Oaks fourth Concert Hall represents Aidan O’Brien, who has won this race five times, while son Joseph seeks a third success in four years, relying upon Tranquil Lady, who was a couple of places further back in the Epsom Classic.

Paddy Twomey may hold the strongest hand of the home guard, saddling both La Petite Coco and Rosscarbery.

The latter notched up her fourth consecutive win of the season in the Group Three Munster Oaks at Cork earlier this month, while La Petite Coco makes her return following a fruitful three-year-old campaign which produced four wins in her last five starts, including when downing dual Classic winner Love in the Blandford Stakes over course and distance.

Though she has not run since mid-September, Twomey is hopeful she will come on for the outing with a back-end campaign being mapped out.

“That’s the question (whether she will lack for a little fitness),” said Twomey. “She is a lovely filly and the plan has been very much to campaign her with the second half of the season in mind.

“She didn’t miss a beat last year and we couldn’t be happier with her.”

He added: “Rosscarbery has done nothing wrong and she’s also declared.”

My Astra impresses Haggas with ‘startling’ Ayr verdict

William Haggas will consider an immediate step up to Group One level with My Astra after a “startling victory” in the Tennent’s Lager British Stallion Studs EBF Rothesay Stakes at Ayr.

A dual winner last summer and placed twice in Listed company since, the four-year-old half-sister to the high-class My Oberon was the 13-8 favourite to open her Stakes race account in Scotland.

After moving smoothly into contention, the daughter of Lope De Vega engaged overdrive once popped the question by Tom Marquand – sprinting 12 lengths clear without being fully extended.

Haggas, saddling his 17th winner in the last fortnight, said: “She won really nicely, enjoyed the step up in trip and possibly the ease in the ground too.

“I thought it looked a better race than last year, but she did really well.

“I was really impressed with her today. She travelled well and when he (Marquand) said ‘go’, she went.

“It was a startling victory”

William Haggas has his string in fantastic form
William Haggas has his string in fantastic form (Mike Egerton/Jockey Club)

My Astra holds a top-level entry in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on June 26 and Haggas admits he will now have to give a trip to Ireland serious thought.

“My original plan was to miss Royal Ascot and go to the Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle, but it just looked there like the all-weather at Kempton (when third) last time was not for her,” the Newmarket handler added.

“She’ll go either to the Hoppings or the Pretty Polly and we’ll decide which nearer the time.”

My Astra hunting Listed honours for in-form Haggas team

William Haggas is looking to maintain his red-hot run of form with My Astra in the Tennent’s Lager British Stallion Studs EBF Rothesay Stakes at Ayr on Wednesday.

The beautifully-bred filly is by Lope De Vega and out of the Sea The Stars mare My Titania, who won a Group Three for John Oxx.

My Astra was unraced at two but won her first two outings at three last year, before finishing second in a French Listed race over 10 furlongs in heavy ground.

She dropped back down to a mile for the Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton for her reappearance and was narrowly beaten into third by Roman Mist and Haggas feel the step back up in trip to a mile and a quarter will be in her favour in Scotland.

He is, though, mildly surprised at the strength of the race with Andrew Balding, Roger Varian and Jessica Harrington all represented, although John and Thady Gosden’s Darlectable You – a sister to Too Darn Hot – is a non-runner.

“We thought stepping back up in trip is what she wanted, certainly Tom (Marquand) felt that after Kempton, but this is a little bit better race than normal,” said Haggas, who is operating at a strike-rate well over 40 per cent for the past fortnight.

“For the last couple of years this has been a pretty ordinary race but this is stronger, so we’ll just have to see, obviously we’re hoping she’ll run really well.

“Jessie is bringing one over (The Blue Brilliant), I thought Andrew’s looked dangerous (Achelois) and Roger’s (Angel Power) – they are all going to be dangerous but this is what we kept her in training for, to run in these races, so she’s got to run in them.”

Tom Ward, trainer of Roman Mist, runs Luisa Casati while Magnificence (Brian O’Rourke), Minister For Magic (Harry Dunlop) and Twisted Reality (David Menuisier) complete the field.