Prendergast aiming high with La Collina in Guineas
AIDAN O'BRIEN might be saddling the 1,000 Guineas favourite -- alongside at least two other stablemates -- this Sunday, but two of his colleagues also have their eyes on plundering the Newmarket prize.
Kevin Prendergast and Ger Lyons are taking on Ballydoyle's unbeaten Maybe with La Collina and Lightening Pearl respectively, and both travel across the Irish Sea full of hope.
La Collina had some top-class form as a juvenile last season, including beating O'Brien's 2,000 Guineas hopeful Power in the Group One Phoenix Stakes.
Not many fillies beat the colts at such an early stage of their careers and connections hoped she would follow up against her own sex in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, but she could only manage third behind Maybe.
Given there had been little between them when the pair met in the Silver Flash Stakes in July, Prendergast is entitled to be optimistic.
"I think she'll run well, I suppose she has gone under the radar a bit," said Prendergast. "I wouldn't want it soft, though, as she's much better on good ground.
"I've seen the forecast and they should have had most of the rain they are getting, so I'd hope it will be good ground by the weekend, that's what they are saying as it drains so well."
The going at Newmarket was yesterday described as soft following nearly 10mm of overnight rain and Lyons is another hoping the ground will dry out.
His Lightening Pearl, owned by Pearl Bloodstock, signed off her juvenile career with a Group One success in the Cheveley Park Stakes over six furlongs on Newmarket's Rowley Mile course.
"If the meeting starts on good ground it won't be a problem. I just wouldn't want any extremes," Lyons explained. "At the minute unless something drastic happens she's travelling on Friday.
"We'll do what we normally do, which is to walk the course and if we're not happy with the ground we'll pull up stumps and come home. If we're happy we'll run.
"We said last September she's going for the Guineas and we've stuck to the plan.
"She was never going to be a big filly. She's the same weight, she seems in good order. She's had a couple of racecourse gallops, so there won't be any excuses fitness-wise.
"Obviously, we'll know on Sunday whether she gets the trip or not. If the ground turned up on the very soft or heavy side, I doubt we'd take our chance."
Meanwhile, Frankel's racecourse gallop at Newmarket has been brought forward by 24 hours as he continue his preparation towards the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
Henry Cecil's superstar, the highest-rated racehorse in the world, is set to make his first racecourse appearance since an injury scare last month this Saturday.
Initial reports suggested he would be galloping before racing on Sunday, but he will now exercise 24 hours earlier and is expected to work with Bullet Train and Jet Away at approximately 12.55.
English 1,000 Guineas -- Coral bet: 5/4 Maybe, 6/1 Discourse, 7/1 Lyric Of Light, Moonstone Magic, 8/1 Mashoora, 14/1 Diala, 16/1 La Collina, Starscope, 20/1 Laugh Out Loud, Lightening Pearl, The Fugue, 25/1 Gray Pearl, 33/1 bar.