Donnacha O’Brien wary of testing conditions for Shale

Donnacha O’Brien is praying the ground does not become testing for Shale’s run in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

A Group One winner last season in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, Shale is out of two Classic winners in Galileo and Homecoming Queen.

Last season saw her come up against Pretty Gorgeous – trained by O’Brien’s brother Joseph – in four different races, with the score two wins each. The twice she was on the receiving end, though, the ground was slow.

“She’s run well on soft ground but was never at her best,” said O’Brien, as he assessed Shale’s prospects on Sunday.

“That’s why she got beaten by Joseph’s filly (Pretty Gorgeous) – the ground was easy, (but) when she won it was quick ground.

“I don’t think she’s at her best on soft ground. I hope it’s not heavy, but we’ll have to see what it is like come the day.

“Galileos are genuine and they stay well. Those two things combined usually mean that they are fairly effective on soft ground.

“She’s not the biggest of fillies but she’s filled out and she’s strong. Sometimes horses either handle it or they don’t, in terms of their action, so I’m not sure whether strength is going to make her any better on it.

“She has run well on easy ground before – so unless it’s heavy I think we’ll be happy to run.”

The official going at the Curragh is soft on the straight course and soft, yielding to soft in places on the round course.

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