BC Internationals: Filly & Mare Turf/Turf contender Pretty Perfect
Pretty Perfect (nearer camera) getting mugged by Simple Verse
Although Pretty Perfect is likely intended to serve as Seventh Heaven’s pacemaker, she’s not to be disregarded. The Aidan O’Brien blueblood is a relentless galloper, and her forward style could carry her a long way around Santa Anita.
Pretty Perfect is first on the also-eligible list for the Filly & Mare Turf (G1), but she’ll get in if someone else sticks to first preference in the Mile (G1). Since one of those three possibilities is stablemate Alice Springs, O’Brien is effectively in control of whether Pretty Perfect gets in. As Seventh Heaven’s shadow, Pretty Perfect was likewise cross-entered to the Turf (G1) as a second preference.
By Galileo and out of an Australian Group 3-winning/Group 1-placed full sister to champion Holy Roman Emperor, Pretty Perfect opened 2016 with a front-running coup in the Salsabil. She tried to repeat the feat against older distaffers in the Blue Wind (G3), and beat all bar Dermot Weld’s highly regarded Zhukova. Pretty Perfect shortened up dramatically for the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1), and simply wasn’t up to the mile classic. Before judging her harshly, recall that stablemate Coolmore flopped there too, yet performed much better in her next two and held third in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1).
Pretty Perfect rebounded on the drop in class, and stretch-out to 1 1/2 miles, in the Munster Oaks (G3). Once again, she was in her element controlling the pace. Her proficiency on the front end made her the ideal rabbit for Seventh Heaven. Pretty Perfect sacrificed herself in the Irish Oaks (G1), where she hung around until the final furlong before giving way. In the Yorkshire Oaks (G1), Pretty Perfect fought bravely to keep fourth.
Then Pretty Perfect got the chance to shine on a bigger stage in her own right in the Park Hill (G2) at Doncaster. Seeing off her pace companion (who tired to last), Pretty Perfect opened up in the stretch and looked gone. It took a herculean effort from Simple Verse, last year’s St Leger (G1) winner over the same extended 1 3/4-mile trip, to catch her in the shadow of the wire.
Last time out, Pretty Perfect was back on pacemaker duty for Seventh Heaven in the British Champion Fillies and Mares (G1). As she often does, she kept on until deep stretch, when overwhelmed and relegated to fourth. But she was only beaten a little more than a length for second, and ironically, Pretty Perfect staved off Seventh Heaven.
If Pretty Perfect can remain in contention to the final furlong going longer on more demanding European courses, how far might she last going only 1 1/4 miles at Santa Anita?
Of course, the problem with that question is the presence of some other serious speed. Avenge and the two City Zips, Catch a Glimpse and Zipessa, won’t be hanging about, and Photo Call would only add to the early mix (unless she sticks to her first preference in the Mile). Pretty Perfect might end up being an insurance policy who doesn’t get to the front. Yet even in that situation, Pretty Perfect’s grinding determination may still help her exceed expectations.
Photo courtesy Irish Champions Weekend via Twitter