Pretty Polly and Australia


Pretty Polly and Australia

I took an interest in the Pretty Polly Stakes while researching the Capricornia Sales. This race has some interesting association with Australian Racing. The association involves Pretty Polly herself, the jockeys, and the pedigree of some of the 2018 field.

Who was Pretty Polly?

    Pretty Polly: superstar

Pretty Polly (Gallinule- Admiration) was foaled in Ireland in 1901. As a 2yo she had nine starts and won them all. A 3yo, she won all the Fillies Classics and became only the fifth filly to complete the Fillies Triple Crown. This series commenced in 1814. Her racing career lasted 3 years and numbered 24 Starts, 22 wins and 2 seconds. She won 15 straight races.

Broodmare Status

At stud, Pretty Polly had seven registered foals. Although none of them achieved much on the racetrack, her four daughters were very successful broodmares and formed the now famous Pretty Polly family. Pretty Polly  is the fourth dam of the great sire Donatello ll and the fifth dam of Brigadier Gerard. This horse with a record of 17 wins and a second from 18 starts achieved a timeform rating of 144-equal third with the best in history. Derby winners haven’t escaped the family either. Pretty Polly is the sixth dam of the Epsom Derby winner St Paddy.  She has been named as the Matriarch of Family 14-C, the most successful female family in Thoroughbred racing history.

But where does the Aussie connection come in? In 1924, Pretty Polly had her final daughter Baby Polly (Spearmint –Pretty Polly) and Spearmint is a son of the mighty Carbine and he needs no introduction.

The Pretty Polly Stakes

Peeping Fawn: the iron filly

In honour of the great race mare and broodmare, the Pretty Polly Stakes commenced in Ireland in 1948. Originally it was a G2 3yo fillies race over 10f (2012m) but has now been given G1 status and is open to both fillies and mares. For me, 2007 had the most interesting winner, Peeping Fawn (DanehillMaryinsky). She won 4xG1 before her second in the Epsom Oaks and she is closely related to Rags to Riches (A P Indy-Better than Honour) who was the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 100 years. Both mares share the same grandmother, Blush with Pride whose dam is Best in Show. The fillies won their races in 2007.

The 2018 the race had only six runners. Fillies and mares from Australian sires  Foxwedge, Fastnet Rock and So You Think. comprised half the field. Urban Fox (Foxwedge-Lomapamar) won easily.

The Jockeys

Bill Williamson

Bill was a great Australian Jockey. He is best known in Australia by his win on Dalray in the 1952 Melbourne Cup and his partnership with the mighty New Zealand champion Rising Fast. He went to Europe in 1960 and had great success. Few people know that he won not one but two Arc de Triomphe and he still holds a record which is unlikely any Australian Jockey is going to match let alone beat. Bill is one of six jockeys that have each won three Pretty Polly Stakes and shares that record with Lester Piggott, Michael Kinane and three others.


Capricornia Yearling Sales 2020

Capricorn Yearling Sale 2020

The Sale begins on April 5th.. With all the distractions around I hope the organizers will be rewarded for their considerable effort. There are 91 Lots representing 39 Stallions. and  interesting yearlings from Domesday and Foxwedge. The stallions fall into three groups

  • Established proven sires of Stake Winners who some people believe are past their best. (Holy Roman Emperor (67SW), Domesday (18SW), Falvelon (11SW))
  • A few up and comers, Foxwedge (15SW) )
  • The majority trying to make their mark or just starting off.

To discuss, I have selected Lot 14 and Lot 82.

Lot 14 (Domesday- Halle Mcollywill)

I have talked about Domesday (18SW, 5x G1) before. Lot 14 is the only horse that I can find in the Sale where the sire has produced a SW from a match to a SW brood mare sire. In this case Mossman.  The horse was Cailin Miss (Domesday – Partygoer by Mossman). She only had 4 starts and won a Listed race in South Australia. Since retiring she has visited some heavy hitting mates. In order Foxwedge, Snitzel and I Am Invincible which shows someone believes in her quality. A PRI score of 85.6 points to a city winner. Although her 6GFI is a modest 4.8%, the action around the dam is very good (1xG1, 1xG2, 3xG3 and 1xL).  The mating to produce Lot 14 is a wide outcross. No Danehills anywhere to muddy the waters .Although Domesday’s best horses have been colts; this filly would be worth a look.

Lot 82 (Foxwedge – Burleigh Bullet)


Foxwedge     Young sire on the way up

If you are looking to buy from a sire on the way up, then Foxwedge is for you. His oldest progeny are only 5 yo and he has already produced 15SW.  His three G1 winners are widely spread; New Zealand, Western Australia and Ireland.  Urban Fox (Foxwedge-Lomapamar) easily won the Pretty Pretty  Polly Stakes in Ireland. This race is regarded as a useful guide to the English Oaks. Lot 82 with a 4mx4m cross to Storm Cat is related to Sadilla (Foxwedge-Saderaat) winner of a listed race in Italy over 2000m. Lot 82 has Storm Cat 4mx3m. Another things this filly has going for her is that of the 15SW sired by Foxwedge, 13 are fillies and 2 are colts.

Both these interesting  yearling from Domesday and Foxwedge are worth a look.