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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.

Shale expected to step up in Irish Guineas

Donnacha O’Brien is convinced Shale will improve a great deal for her first start of the season when she runs in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas.

The filly is bred for great things, being by Derby winner Galileo out of a Guineas heroine in Homecoming Queen, and last year showed she had inherited plenty of ability.

She enjoyed a great rivalry with Pretty Gorgeous last season. The pair met four times, winning two each, and Shale gained a top-level victory herself in the Moyglare Stud Stakes – before disappointing in the Fillies’ Mile.

On her reappearance in the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown last month, she was only fifth of 15 – but her trainer expects her to take a big leap forward next weekend.

“She’s in good form and is going straight to the Curragh now,” said O’Brien.

“We’re very happy with her. She would have really needed her first run a lot – my older ones were really taking a run, and I was actually delighted with her.

“I’m expecting a big run from her at the Curragh.”

Shale bidding for more Group One glory

Shale, winner of the Moyglare Stud Stakes, is one of 11 declared for the Group One bet365 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket on Friday.

The daughter of Galileo, trained by Donnacha O’Brien, landed the Curragh Group One by three-quarters of a length from Pretty Gorgeous.

The latter, trained by his brother, Joseph, renews rivalry as the pair will meet for a fourth time. The score is two-one in Shale’s favour.

Their father Aidan runs two, Mother Earth and Snowfall, who were both down the field in the Moyglare. Ryan Moore rides Shale.

Heading a strong home contingent are John Gosden’s unbeaten May Hill Stakes scorer Indigo Girl and the Clive Cox-trained Isabella Giles, winner of the Prestige and Rockfel Stakes.

Also for two-year-old fillies, is the Group Three Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp Stakes.

Joseph O’Brien’s Thinking Of You is the sole Irish raider in the seven-furlong contest, also to be ridden by Moore.

Roger Varian has declared both Nazuna, who was second to Isabella Giles, in the Rockfel over this course and distance, and Setarhe.

Saffron Beach was impressive on debut for Jane Chapple-Hyam
Saffron Beach was impressive on debut for Jane Chapple-Hyam (PA Wire)

Richard Hannon is responsible for both Shine For You and Thank You Next while Jane Chapple-Hyam pitches her in her New Bay filly, Saffron Beach, who made a pleasing winning debut over this course and distance two weeks ago.

Zakouski, last seen winning a Group Two at Meydan in February, is among nine horses declared for the Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge Stakes.

His trainer Charlie Appleby also has Glorious Journey while Andrew Balding has Foxtrot Lady and Happy Power, who both won Group Three prizes on their latest start.

Method gets the opportunity to redeem himself for a luckless run in the Middle Park Stakes when he lines up for the Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes.

Method won his first two but then his saddle slipped in the Middle Park
Method won his first two but then his saddle slipped in the Middle Park (Hugh Routledge/PA)

Impressive winner of his first two races, Martyn Meade’s juvenile ran too free in the six-furlong Group One and his saddle slipped giving Frankie Dettori no chance to ride a race.

Method is among 11 in the Group Three as the Mehmas colt has his first run over the minimum trip.

William Haggas is triple handed with Angel Fairy, Award Scheme and Oti Ma Boati in the Darley Pride Stakes.

John Gosden has two interesting contenders in Franconia and Majestic Noor as 14 are set to go to post for the Group Three over a mile and a quarter.

Shale gets the better of Pretty Gorgeous as dream season continues for Donnacha O’Brien

Donnacha O’Brien’s Shale got the better of his brother Joseph’s Pretty Gorgeous in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.

The two fillies have clashed three times now this season, with Shale currently holding the upper hand with two victories to one.

Pretty Gorgeous was sent off the 11-10 favourite having comprehensively outpointed Shale when they last met in the Debutante Stakes.

Shale (9-2) had two and a half lengths to find with Pretty Gorgeous, but was always in the right place under Ryan Moore.

Declan McDonogh had Pretty Gorgeous close enough if she was good enough and the two of them had a real battle inside the final furlong.

But try as she might Pretty Gorgeous could not get past, and Shale provided her young trainer with another Group One at such an early stage of his career.

A daughter of Galileo, Shale was cut to 12-1 from 20s for next year’s 1000 Guineas by Betfair.

“It was a lovely performance. She was one of the first off the bridle and at halfway I didn’t think she was going to do anything, but she found plenty for pressure,” said O’Brien.

“She was always a nice filly, but wasn’t one we thought would be capable of winning a Moyglare at the start of the year – she’s kept progressing the whole way.

“Her last run was good and Joseph’s filly is very classy, they are two very good fillies.”

O’Brien – who has won Group Ones in Ireland, Britain and France this year, his first with a licence – added: “Speaking to Ryan it will either be the Fillies’ Mile or France (for the Prix Marcel Boussac) next. It’s not been a bad first year!

“Fancy Blue ran very well in the Matron on Saturday, I wasn’t deflated she got beat – I probably shouldn’t have run in hindsight because I expected the ground to be soft but the rain never came. I thought she did very well to finish third.”