LA Petite Coco will return to the scene of her biggest win when she lines up for the Group 1 Alwasmiyah Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby weekend.
Trained by Paddy Twomey for Team Valor, the four-year-old filly has not been seen since winning the Group 2 Blandford Stakes over the Pretty Polly course and distance last September.
The trainer said yesterday: “It was always the plan to focus on the second half of the season with her and we have had a clear run so far. She’s in great form. The plan is to run her in the Pretty Polly and, with a bit of luck, we might win a Group 1 with her this year. She has won on all types of ground.”
Twomey has trained 15 winners this season from just 43 runners, a strike-rate of 35%. He will not have any runners at Royal Ascot next week, preferring instead to aim some of his best horses at Irish Derby weekend.
He could run French Claim in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. The Teme Valley-owned colt finished third in the Leopardstown Derby Trial last time out. “The Irish Derby is an option for him,” said Twomey. “We’ll have to see what else is running.”
Rumbles Of Thunder, a three-length winner of a listed race at Gowran Park last month, is on course for the Group 3 ARM Holding International Stakes on Derby weekend, and new recruit Erosandpsyche is being aimed at the Paddy Power Rockingham Handicap.
Looking further ahead, the Co Tipperary trainer hopes to run his star miler Pearls Galore in the Group 2 Romanised Minstrel Stakes on Juddmonte Irish Oaks weekend in July ahead of a possible tilt at a Group 1 prize in Deauville in August.
The Minstrel Stakes has attracted 33 entries including recent Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes winner Brad The Brief, along with Dubawi Legend, Kinross, and Order Of Australia.
Recent French Group 2 winner Brostaigh is among the 37 entries for the Sapphire Stakes, sponsored by Barberstown Castle for the first time. Other notable entries include Romantic Proposal, and last year’s winner Mooneista.
English 1000 Guineas runner-up Prosperous Voyage is among the 52 entries in the Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes. The nine-furlong contest has also attracted Concert Hall, La Petite Coco, Tranquil Lady, Sunset Shiraz, Purplepay, One for Bobby and Agartha.
There are 49 entries for the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh which were published this week. The Group 1 contest takes place on Saturday, August 6th. They include entries from British trainers Charlie Appleby, Richard Hannon, David Loughnane, Clive Cox, Archie Watson, Richard Fahey and Andrew Balding.
The winners of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and Gain Railway Stakes both get automatic free entries into the Phoenix Stakes. Claire Cronin, the US ambassador to Ireland, will be the guest of honour on Phoenix Stakes day.