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.