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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Urban Fox hacks up to deny Oaks heroine Forever Together for Haggas

Urban Fox: finished well clear in the Pretty Polly Stakes
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She travelled to the Curragh more in hope than confidence but Urban Fox dished out a three and a quarter-length beating to Oaks winner Forever Together in the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes.

It was the four-year-old's first run in a Group 1 for trainer William Haggas and her first time running over a mile and a quarter, but the 9-1 shot proved well up to the task, winning with authority under Danny Tudhope, riding his fourth Group 1 winner, much to the delight of her South African owners Barnane Stud Ltd.

Urban Fox struck the front turning for home and, from well over two furlongs out, it was obvious that Forever Together and Ryan Moore were struggling to make any impression on her.

Urban Fox: in isolation in the Pretty Polly

Maureen Haggas, wife of the winning trainer, said: "Urban Fox ran very well in the Duke of Cambridge at Royal Ascot and William thought the step up in trip would suit her well.

"Royal Ascot can be hard on a filly however they run but she put the weight she lost back on quickly and we knew she was in good form.

"The staff at home have done a brilliant job with her. We couldn't be confident – we were taking on the Oaks winner – and we're just hoping our filly would run well and that she might get placed.

"I spoke to William shortly before the race and he said to me that he didn't think [running the filly] was a good idea. I told him it was too late and that I had the jockey standing in front of me and ready for action!

"I'm just thrilled to bits for the owners and I couldn't be more pleased. She's a beautiful filly and will make a lovely broodmare for her owners when she goes to stud.

Tudhope said: "We knew she would stay the trip and it was a question of whether she would be good enough and she certainly was."

Step up in trip likely

Aidan O'Brien said of 4-6 favourite Forever Together: "She's run well and it looks as if going back up to a mile and a half in the Irish Oaks will be the plan. The ground might have been that bit tight for her."

O'Brien also supplied the third and fourth with Athena, who had run fourth in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing two and a quarter-lengths behind Forever Together with the Investec Oaks third, Bye Bye Baby, one and three-quarter lengths back in fourth.

Nassau target

Urban Fox, who was given a 5-1 quote by Betfair for the Nassau Stakes, became the seventh British-trained winner of the event in the last 11 runnings and the second consecutive British winner following Nezwaah 12 months ago.

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She'll make the owners a really lovely mare when she goes to stud
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