Izzi Top charged past longtime leader Sapphire with a furlong remaining and drew off to a comfortable 1 1/4-length victory in the Barclays Bank Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) at the Curragh July 1.
The victory in the 2,000-meter Pretty Polly earned the 4-year-old daughter of Pivotal an automatic berth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2. The race is part of the “Win and You’re In” series sponsored by the Breeders’ Cup.
With the scratches of Bible Belt, Maybe, and Was, a field of just four fillies and mares lined up in the Pretty Polly. Favoritism fell to the Dermot Weld-trained Sapphire, a 4-year-old daughter of Medicean who had captured the Kerry Group Noblesse Stakes (Ire-III) in her last start.
Sapphire dictated the pace while Izzi Top stalked in second under William Buick and I'm A Dreamer and Up trailed. The field remained in that order throughout much of the race, as Sapphire attempted to go wire-to-wire to land her first group I victory.
With a furlong left to run, Izzi Top ranged up alongside Sapphire, and the two matched strides briefly until Izzi Top began to pull away, eventually crossing the wire an easy winner.
Sapphire held on for second, with I’m A Dreamer a half-length back in third. Final time for the 10 furlongs was 2:15.05 over the course rated soft to heavy.
After the race trainer John Gosden said, “She didn’t like that ground, but then not many do. She’s done her best work in the last couple of weeks so we’re happy with that.”
Gosden continued, “We’ll look at all the big group Is over a mile and a quarter for her, races like the Nassau, Prix de l’Opera, and even the Breeders’ Cup could be a possibility for her.”
Izzi Top was bred in England by Meon Valley Stud, and races in the colors of Helena Springfield. She is out Zee Zee Top, a daughter of Zafonic and winner of the 2003 Prix de l’Opera (Fr-I). Zee Zee Top is a daughter of Irish Oaks (Ire-I) winner Colorspin, and is a half sister to champions Opera House and Kayf Tara.