La Petite Coco rounded off the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby weekend in fine style with victory in the Pretty Polly Stakes, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.
The talented filly had enough in the tank to hold off My Astra and give trainer Paddy Twomey an elusive first Group One success at the Curragh.
With Billy Lee in the saddle, she made a winning return on her first appearance of the season.
My Astra, the pre-race favourite, put up a strong fight to finish second but couldn’t deny the maiden win at racing’s top table for Twomey.
“I was very happy with her coming here,” the winning trainer said. “She is a good filly, she beat Love here last year.
“And she has never put a foot wrong since.
“She is a joy to have and I’m lucky to have her.
“We bought her last year and she has now run six times for us and won five of them, so she is tough.”
While Twomey said no firm plans had been made for the next move, he does believe the daughter of Ruler Of The World has plenty of options.
“I never make any big judgements, we just let her race,” he added. “She has won a Group 3, then a Group 2 and now a Group 1 and she is doing it all herself.”
“This was always the plan. I gave her an Arc entry and I didn’t think it was outrageous giving it to her. I’d say Yorkshire Oaks or an Arc might suit her, maybe the Breeders Cup might suit her.
“A mile-and-a-half is optimum for her.
“She is a cool customer, easy to deal with and you can throw anything at her.”
In Sunday’s feature race at the Curragh, Lyrical Poetry led as they turned for home.
But La Petite Coco, who won her final three outings of 2021, had moved into the perfect position to challenge under Lee.
It looked like the eventual winner had gone too early when My Astra produced a late charge in the final furlong, but La Petite Coco found one final effort to register a fifth career win.
"I had a lovely position the whole way," said Lee. "Off the hill I was taken all the way to the straight.
"And when I got stuck into my one (La Petite Coco) she responded.
"She pulled out that bit more she needed at the end. She had a big heart.
"The rain was a plus for us. We were worried about the ground all the weekend.
"So I was smiling when the big shower hit, I was delighted that came.
"I'm delighted for Paddy (Twomey) he works hard and leaves no stone unturned."
Thunder Kiss was third, after Twomey’s other runner Rosscarbery was disqualified for a weighing-in discrepancy.
Earlier on the third and final day of an exciting weekend’s racing at the Curragh, the odds-on favourite Statuette ground out a win in the Group 2 Airlie Stud Stakes.
Aiden O’Brien’s filly took her time to get going but pulled away in the final furlong from Badb to remain unbeaten.