Pretty Gorgeous given Leopardstown weekend option

Leading Classic contender Pretty Gorgeous could make her seasonal reappearance at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The Joseph O’Brien-trained filly is one of 26 entries for the Group Three Ballylinch Stud ‘Priory Belle’ 1,000 Guineas Trial Stakes over seven furlongs.

A daughter of Lawman, she is behind only Aidan O’Brien’s Santa Barbara in the ante-post market for the Qipco 1000 Guineas following her victory in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket in October.

There are a number of smart performers among the potential opposition – including O’Brien senior’s Joan Of Arc, Empress Josephine and Mother Earth, who was third at Newmarket and ran a fine race when runner-up to Aunt Pearl in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland.

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Also featuring is Donnacha O’Brien’s Shale, twice a conqueror of Pretty Gorgeous last season, most recently in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.

Poetic Flare could put his big-race credentials on the line in the Listed Ballylinch Stud ‘Red Rocks’ 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes.

Jim Bolger’s Dawn Approach colt won two of his three juvenile outings, with the highlight being the Group Three Killavullan Stakes over this course and distance.

Thirteen possibles have been assembled for the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes.

The Group Three contest has been a real Derby pointer over the years, famously won by O’Brien with Galileo 20 years ago and High Chaparral 12 months later.

Harzand won the Ballysax for Dermot Weld in 2016
Harzand won the Ballysax for Dermot Weld in 2016 (Niall Carson/PA)

The shortest in the Epsom betting of O’Brien’s contenders for this year’s renewal is Cleveland – and he could also call on the unexposed Arturo Toscanini and Lough Derg.

Dermot Weld last won the Ballysax in 2016 with Harzand, who went on to Derby glory on his next start. The master of Rosewell House has two in the mix this weekend, in the shape of Wuqood and Blue For You.

Wuqood was just touched off by Bolger’s Flying Visit in the Eyrefield Stakes and could re-oppose, while Blue For You beat subsequent dual Group One runner-up Wembley at Galway in July but has not been seen since.

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