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Lolly For Dolly

There was a lot to like about the performance that the Tommy Stack-trained Lolly For Dolly put up to win the Group 3 Athasi Stakes at The Curragh on Monday. Settled in behind towards the back of the field in the early stages by Wayne Lordan, the daughter of Oratorio travelled well to the three-furlong pole, but she was a little short of room when the pace increased at that point, with the result that her rider had to get after her. Trapped in behind a wall of horses and apparently flat to the boards as they approached the furlong pole, she showed huge strength and courage to turn a half a gap into a full gap for herself, and squeeze her frame through. There were seven fillies lined across the track, a half a length between first and seventh, with 150 yards to run, but Lolly For Dolly burst clear of her rivals with an impressive surge off a fast pace to go on to win by a long-looking two lengths.

There were a number of things that impressed about this performance. For starters, this was just the second run of the filly’s life, yet Tommy and Fozzy Stack apparently had little doubt that she was at least up to Group 3 class, nor had the punters who sent her off as favourite here. The tenacity that she showed to go through the half-gap at the furlong pole was admirable for one so inexperienced, as was the willing attitude that she showed once she was in the clear to bound away from her rivals. The fast pace obviously suited and she was at home on this yielding ground, ground that was a lot better than the heavy ground that she encountered at Cork on her racecourse debut at the beginning of April, when she ran out a seven-length winner of an eight-and-a-half-furlong maiden.

There is a chance that this was a very good Athasi Stakes, despite the fact that there were seven fillies in with a chance at the furlong pole. Famous chased Lolly For Dolly home, the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly, a full sister to Mastercraftsman, who had finished second in the Moyglare Stud Stakes last year over Monday’s course and distance, and who had also had the benefit of a run this season, while Duchess Of Foxland, a nice progressive filly of Mark Fagan’s, was third and the good older filly, Lolly For Dolly’s stable companion Pollen, Irish Lincoln winner last year and winner of the Park Express Stakes on her debut this season and a good yardstick, was over five lengths back in seventh. Also, there were three races run over seven furlongs at The Curragh on Monday, and this was by far the fastest, a full three seconds faster than the time that Free Judgement and Dynasty clocked in the Group 3 Tetrarch Stakes a half an hour earlier, carrying just 4lb more than Lolly For Dolly did.

There is no telling how high Lolly For Dolly can go. Her pedigree suggests that a mile will be her optimum. Fozzy Stack spoke afterwards about supplementing her for the Irish Guineas, and that is worth a shot. She could prove to be a high class filly.

3rd May 2010

© The Irish Field, 8th May 2010