Hanami, Soumillon Capture Irish Pretty Polly
by Blood-Horse Staff
Date Posted: 6/28/2003 3:03:11 PM

Hanami provided a nice introduction at The Curragh for jockey Christophe Soumillon with a neck victory Saturday in the 1 1/4-mile Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-II). Soumillon rides odds-on favorite Dalakhani for the Agha Khan in Sunday's Budweiser Irish Derby.

The bay 3-year-old filly by Hernando, trained by British conditioner James Toller for the G B Partnership, came from the back of the eight-horse field with an outside move to take the lead a furlong from home, edging Zee Zee Top. Following a stewards' inquiry Zee Zee Top was placed third behind Snippets, who was a length behind the winner. The Michael Stoute-trained Zee Zee Top was found to have impeded Snippets with a severe veering of course more than a furlong from the finish.

Soumillon made his Irish debut earlier in the day with a third-place finish aboard Rayshan for the Agha Khan in the IAWS Curagh Cup (Ire-III).

Toller is considering Hanami for next month's Darley Irish Oaks at The Curragh.

"We'll certainly consider it if she recovers quickly from today's race," he told The Racing Post. "We will have to think long and hard about our prospects of getting a mile and a half. It is possible that today's trip of ten furlongs suits her best."

The Dermot Weld-trained Maharib, ridden by Pat Mullen for owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, captured the 1 3/4-mile Curragh Cup by three-quarter length over favored Arundel.

The 3-year-old Alhaarth colt was third behind pace-setting Queen's Wharf for most of the trip, before switching off the hedge two furlongs from home and taking the lead with less than an eighth of a mile to run. He finished well to hold off the Aidan O'Brien-trained Arundel. Rayshan was three lengths farther back.

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