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Thistle Bird picks up Pretty Polly prize

The Roger Charlton trained Thistle Bird recorded her first victory at the highest level when taking the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh under George Baker. The 6yo bounced back to winning ways in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom on just her second start this season and was quickly able to double up here, showing a devastating turn of foot to see off a decent field.


Ambivalent, who had put in a terrific performance in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, was sent of a warm favourite for the 1m 2f contest and she immediately went to her usual position at the front of the field under Andrea Atzeni, having caused plenty of trouble before the start.


Roger Varian’s charge would eventually start to struggle however, with Aidan O’Brien’s Venus De Milo taking control of the race but Thistle Bird was still travelling sweetly in behind, having settled nicely throughout. Baker kicked for home and the response was immediate with the pair going on to score by 2 3/4 lengths.


“I’m really delighted. There’s not many things trainers get lucky at, but for a mare of that age to win a Group One is hugely satisfying,” Charlton said.


“She travelled well and relaxed really well. She doesn’t mind whether it’s firm or heavy ground. She’s tough and she’s improving and it says a lot about keeping horses in training.


“She’s had a few problems, but she’s tough and sound and will be a great addition to the broodmare band.


“We were going to retire her after she finished second in a Group One (Nassau Stakes) last year, but the owner didn’t have any other horses with me and I thought she could win good prizes.


“We delayed putting her in foal and she’s done it now. It’s hard to say (where next), but courses like Goodwood suit and she could go for the Nassau again.


“We’ll pick and choose and take our time, there lots of nice races around Europe.”


By Kevin Walsh / Photo: PA Wire


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