Trainer Aidan O’Brien does not expect the rain-softened ground to trouble the unbeaten Maybe as she shoots for Classic glory in Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas.
After making a winning debut at Naas a year ago, the tough filly was successful on four more occasions, rounding off the year with victory in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in August.
Connections deliberately gave Maybe an extended winter break to ensure she would be ready to make her three-year-old debut at Newmarket.
“We were very happy with her last year and we’ve been watching this race for a long time now,” said O’Brien.
“Everything has gone well so far and we’re very happy.
“She had five races in a short enough space of time, so we didn’t want to over-push her. We wanted to give her an early break for her winter so we could start early this year and, so far, everything has worked well.
“I don’t think she has a big preference for ground. She’s by Galileo and they seem to go on anything.
“You’re never sure about the dip in Newmarket. It’s an unusual place and until you go and race there you’re never sure.
“But she’s a high cruiser and hopefully that will be a help to her. She always was a very exciting filly,” the Ballydoyle trainer told British Champions Series TV.
It promises to be a huge weekend for the trainer’s son, Joseph, who gets the leg-up on this filly 24 hours after partnering 2000 Guineas favourite Camelot.
The talented young rider believes Maybe ticks all the right boxes.
“She’s uncomplicated, she’s relaxed, she has a great attitude and she has plenty of class,” he told At The Races.
“You’d imagine she’ll get a mile and a bit further in time.
“We’re looking forward to her.”
Maybe is one of 18 declared fillies, with O’Brien also saddling Homecoming Queen.
Lightening Pearl is unlikely to even make the journey from Ireland unless conditions dry out today.
Lyons said: “The intention at this stage is for her to travel over to Newmarket tonight, but I’ll speak to David Redvers (owner’s racing manager) and if he tells me the ground is soft and not drying out she won’t go.
“If things don’t look like drying out at all, there isn’t much point even setting off.
“It’s unfortunate as, on ratings, she’d have a huge chance.
“She’s in the French Guineas next Sunday, but obviously the ground is soft over there at the moment as well.
“The one question mark we have with her is whether she’ll stay the seven furlongs to a mile.
“She has a lot of quality and cruises through her races, but we don’t want to run her over a mile first time on proper soft ground and then not have an answer about whether she stays.”
If Lightening Pearl does line up, Johnny Murtagh will be the man in the saddle.
He, too, has major concerns about conditions.
Murtagh said: “I’m a bit concerned about the ground for her if it comes up on the soft side as I think she’s a filly who really wants it good to firm.
“She’s a filly with plenty of speed and ideally you’d want faster ground for her.
“She does relax and settles well, so that will give her every chance to get the mile – if she handles the ground.”
La Collina was twice soundly beaten by Maybe last season, but did get the better of 2000 Guineas contender Power to land the Group one Phoenix Stakes in August.
Prendergast said: “I think she’ll run a big race – she’s a class horse.
“The favourite will be hard to beat, we know that, as she’s beaten us twice already and Aidan’s horses seem invincible at the moment.
“She beat Power last year and then ran OK in the Moyglare but she returned with a bit of a problem which we’ve rectified now. She should run a good race.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved