Fillies' Mile Dominates Friday Action

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Pretty Gorgeous | Racingfotos.com

Friday sees a clash of the 2-year-old heavyweights in the G1 bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket, where George Strawbridge's 'TDN Rising Star' Indigo Girl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) has to defend her unbeaten record against Ireland's best in Shale (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Pretty Gorgeous (Fr) (Lawman {Fr}). In a renewal that also features Paul and Clare Rooney's Aug. 29 G3 Prestige S. and Sept. 25 G2 Rockfel S. scorer Isabella Giles (Ire) (Belardo {Ire}), the championship pecking order should be in some part established within the sub-100-second period it takes for the action to play out. Indigo Girl is totally unexposed and bred to progress with racing, so it can only be a significant pointer to her ability that she is already the winner of the G2 May Hill S. at Doncaster Sept. 10.

Clive Cox said of Isabella Giles, “She's been a very pleasing filly and has enjoyed easy ground, which she's likely to get on Friday. We're obviously stepping up to a mile, but she's come out of the Rockfel so well and we're pleased she's taking this step. It's a strong race, but we're looking forward to it.”

The score between Shale and 'TDN Rising Star' Pretty Gorgeous currently stands at 2-1 in pattern races, with the most important of those going the way of the former in the Sept. 13 G1 Moyglare Stud S. at The Curragh. Pretty Gorgeous was forced to miss Sunday's G1 Prix Marcel Boussac due to the well-documented feed contamination and it could be that John Oxley's bay has the upper hand with the ground riding soft on the Rowley Mile, as it did when she impressive in the Aug. 22 G2 Debutante S. also at The Curragh.

Donnacha said of Shale, “The ground is probably going to be a bit softer than ideal, but she's in good form and we're hoping for a big run. There's not a lot between our filly and Joseph's, obviously. I think the step up in trip is going to suit my one, so it will be good fun watching them run against each other and I'm sure it will be another good race. There's some other smart fillies in the race and it will be interesting to see how the Irish and English form lines stack up.”

Joseph was also keen for another crack at his brother's juvenile star and commented, “She's in good shape. It looks a very good race and we're looking forward to seeing her run. We're obviously meeting Donnacha's filly again and it will be interesting to see how it goes. It's probably not the ideal preparation after last weekend, but we're hoping for a good run. She has handled a bit of juice in the ground.”

Also on the card is another Classic pointer for the fillies over seven furlongs, the G3 Godolphin Lifetime Care Oh So Sharp S., in which Pretty Gorgeous's stablemate Thinking of You (American Pharoah) bids to build on her third placing in The Curragh's G3 Weld Park S. Sept. 27. She encounters Nazuna (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), who was second to Isabella Giles in the aforementioned Rockfel over this track and trip, and the impressive course-and-distance Sept.  26 maiden winner Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}). Thinking of You's trainer Joseph O'Brien said, “She ran a very good race at the Curragh last time in what was a messy enough race. I'm quite hopeful of a good run from her.”

In the G2 Godolphin Stud & Stable Staff Awards Challenge S., the sponsors supply Zakouski (GB) (Shamardal) who comes back off a break having won the G2 Zabeel Mile at Meydan Feb. 20, and he is joined by the fellow Charlie Appleby-trained Sept. 18 Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup winner Glorious Journey (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). Roger Varian runs Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa's G2 Rockfel S. and G3 Albany S. winner and G1 Moyglare Stud S. and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf runner-up Daahyeh (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}), whose intended seasonal bow in the Listed October S. was lost at Ascot on Saturday. “We have been pleased with Zakouski's preparation and are happy to drop him back to seven furlongs in testing conditions,” Appleby said. “He is a horse with a nice profile and doesn't have to carry a Group 2 penalty for his win earlier in the year. We are looking forward to seeing him back running on British soil ahead of another Dubai campaign. Glorious Journey has shown that he is capable of winning at this level and conditions will be there to suit. He came out of his run at Newbury well and his confidence is up on the back of that win. We are hopeful that he can put up another decent performance.”

Manton Park Racing's Method (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) comes back to the scene of his G1 Middle Park S. flop in the G3 Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis S. over five furlongs. Too keen there with a slipped saddle, the July 18 Listed Rose Bowl S. scorer faces tough opposition including the Aug. 22 Listed Roses S. winner Acklam Express (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) and trainer Martyn Meade has reservations. “Obviously it's not ideal coming back to five furlongs–he is a six-furlong horse,” he said. “Having said that, he does have plenty of speed and I have got to run him somewhere before the end of the season. He didn't take anything out of himself in the Middle Park. He seems in good form and we're hoping he can show his superiority over a distance that is a little bit shorter than ideal. It is a stiff five furlongs at Newmarket and the ground isn't going to be lightning-fast. From what I've seen of him working on soft ground at home, I don't think it will be a huge inconvenience. Hopefully he can finish his season on a decent note.”

John Gosden has some notable runners for Juddmonte on the afternoon, with the July 26 Listed Lyric Fillies' S. winner Franconia (GB) (Frankel {GB}) bidding to put a disappointing effort when last of six in the Aug. 20 G1 Yorkshire Oaks behind her in the 10-furlong G3 Darley Pride S. at Newmarket and the 2019 G1 St Leger hero Logician (GB) (Frankel {GB}) taking in the re-scheduled G3 Betsafe Cumberland Lodge S. at York. His three opponents include Fitri Hay's July 30 G3 Gordon S. and Aug. 19 G2 Great Voltigeur runner-up Highland Chief (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) and Oliver Cole said of him, “Highland Chief is in great form. I think he'll love the ground. It will be better for him up there. I think he'll run a very big race. Obviously we've got to take on John Gosden's horse, who is very good, but hopefully he'll give him a race.”

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