Joseph O’Brien believes the experience Pretty Gorgeous gained in winning the Fillies’ Mile will stand her in good stead when she returns to Newmarket for the Qipco 1000 Guineas.
Having had three battles with the Donnacha O’Brien-trained Shale before the Fillies’ Mile, winning only once, Pretty Gorgeous took advantage of a below-par run from her old rival to win the Group One last October.
“We are very pleased with her. She came through the winter really well and looks fantastic,” O’Brien said of Pretty Gorgeous, in a stable tour for Attheraces.com.
“We haven’t decided yet whether we will run her in a Guineas trial or go straight to the Guineas. We saw last year that she handles soft ground well, but I think she’ll prove quite versatile on that front.
“The experience that she got at Newmarket in the Fillies Mile can do her no harm, with a view to going back there for the 1000 Guineas. I could see her getting a mile-and-a-quarter in due course, for sure.”
O’Brien has a similar quandary for Thunder Moon, who lost his unbeaten record in the Dewhurst when third – having won the National Stakes on just his second outing.
“He was brilliant for us last year. He was deadly in the National Stakes, and I thought he ran very well in the Dewhurst,” said O’Brien
“He was drawn in the wrong part of the track that day – and the ground was softer than ideal – so it was a very good run in the circumstances, I thought.
“He came through the winter very well and is in great shape. We haven’t made a final decision on whether to run him in a trial or go straight to the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, but that’s what his target is.
“It looks as though a mile will be his trip. We are excited to see how far he can go this season.”
Twilight Payment took his form to a new level on joining O’Brien from Jim Bolger, and won the trainer a second Melbourne Cup in November.
“He had an incredible season last year, and his win in the Melbourne Cup was very special. He had a break when he came home and looks great,” said O’Brien.
“We’re looking forward to what will hopefully be another good season for him. The Gold Cup at Royal Ascot will be considered along the way. We’ll take it race by race with him.”