Pretty Gorgeous has edge over Shale for 1,000 Guineas 2021

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Love won the 1,000 Guineas this year after earning an Official Rating (OR) of 105 in the Moyglare Stud Stakes. Shale produced the same figure when winning the latter race this season and is now the +1200 favourite to win the first fillies’ Classic of 2021. 

Pretty Gorgeous finished three-quarters of a length behind Shale in the Group 1 race for two-year-old fillies. Her current rating is 110, so she looks the better option for the 1,000 Guineas at +1400. The combined price for the market leaders is about +600.

The National Stakes is the only other Group 1 juvenile Flat race in Ireland for which fillies are eligible, although it is mainly a trial for colts. Thunder Moon won the race this month and is now the favourite for the 2,000 Guineas.  

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Trying to predict the outcome of a race in eight months’ time is fraught with danger. The Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket is a good form guide for the 1,000 Guineas; however, Love was only third in the race at Newmarket last October, finishing one-and-three-quarter lengths behind the winner, Quadrilateral. Love reversed the form at Newmarket the following spring.

Two horses who finished in the first three in the Fillies’ Mile also won and made the frame in the 1,000 Guineas the following spring. The outcome will affect the betting for the Classic, and an impressive winner could become the winter favourite.  

Shale and Pretty Gorgeous are trained in Ireland and so may not to travel due to quarantine rules for jockeys. Indigo Girl is the shortest priced UK-based horse in the ante-post betting for the 1,000 Guineas. She is trained by John Gosden, who had a runner in the Fillies’ Mile last season. 

Indigo Girl has an OR of 107, which puts her in the same ballpark as the Irish fillies and also ahead of Love at the same stage of her juvenile season. Dandalla  has won three races from three starts and could meet  Indigo Girl in the Fillies’ Mile, which will sort out the pecking order for the most fancied British horses for the Classic next year. Saturday’s Cheveley Park Stakes, also at Newmarket, is another option for the best two-year-old fillies trained in Britain. 

Love is trained by Aidan O’Brien, who won the Fillies’ Mile three times in three years from 2014 to 2016. Minding went in to win the 1,000 Guineas in 2017 and was one of the four O’Brien winners in the last five years. Shale is trained by his younger son, Donnacha, who could follow his dad’s lead and send Shale over pending any travel restrictions. 

Pretty Gorgeous is under the care of Donnacha’s older brother, Joseph, who could follow the family tradition and contest the Guineas trial. The race that matters most is also run over the Rowley Mile, so the winner has course and distance form for the Classic. At the time of writing, some travel restrictions for horses are in place and jockeys may have to isolate for up to 14 days.   

Shale and Pretty Gorgeous have met three times this season, and they’ve both carried 9st 2lbs on each occasion. Shale beat Pretty Gorgeous by two-and-a-quarter lengths in total in the two races she won. Pretty Gorgeous obliged by two-and-a-half lengths when she finished ahead of Shale. The former has a slight form edge on the ratings. 

The Fillies’ Mile is the only Group 1 race for female juveniles in the UK over the Guineas distance. The Cheveley Park Stakes is a six-furlong race and often provides pointers for the early-season Classic for fillies. These two Group 1 races will be informative in assessing the Classic. 

Shale is currently shorter in the betting, but Pretty Gorgeous offers the value and can confirm the form in one of the major trials this autumn and become the new favourite for the 1,000 Guineas.  

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