Ambivalent Makes All in Pretty Polly Surprise

A change in tactics for Darley-bred Authorized filly produces 10-1 upset over Was.

With last year's Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner and runner-up swiftly closing in at the finish, pacesetter Ambivalent held on valiantly to win the Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) June 30 at the Curragh.

Ali Saeed's Darley-bred Authorized filly scored by a half-length from 2012 Epsom Oaks (Eng-I) winner Was, the 5-2 choice on the withdrawal of trainer Tommy Stack's pre-race favorite Alive Alive Oh. Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star was a neck back in third.

Taking the early lead, Ambivalent had a clear advantage halfway through the 1 1/4-mile contest but was challenged entering the straight by group III winner Harasiya, who tracked her from second. She fought off that rival in the final furlong but had to dig in to repel Was, who rallied furiously in the final 50 yards to just miss.

Ridden by Johnny Murtagh for trainer Roger Varian, Ambivalent was timed in 2:04.83 to win at 10-1 odds for her first time in group company.

Harasiya faded to finish fourth, a half-length behind Shirocco Star, in the nine-horse field.

A stakes winner at Newbury last summer, Ambivalent was winless in two previous starts this season. The 4-year-old filly was second in the Betfred Middleton Stakes (Eng-II) May 16 at York in her season bow, and third in Betvictor Royal Ascot Money Back Pinnacle Stakes (Eng-III) June 8 at Haydock.

Varian decided to change her running style from off the pace to a more prominent position early, and the new tactics paid dividends.

"I said to Johnny we've got nothing to lose and that we'd change tactics and go forward," Varian told Racing Post.

Irish-bred Ambivalent has four wins, a second, and two thirds from 10 career starts. The Pretty Polly is her second stakes win following her victory as a 3-year-old in the British Stallion Stud E.B.F. Chalice Stakes last August at Newbury.

Ambivalent is from the first crop of Darley sire Authorized and is his first winner at the group I level. She is out of stakes-placed Darrery, by Darshaan, and is a half sister the winning Green Desert mare Diary, who produced 2009 Qatar Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp (Fr-I) winner Total Gallery.