The Irish Oaks (Saturday 15th July) is the second classic for fillies in the Irish Racing Season, and this 12-furlong contest is run at the Curragh. It was first run over that distance in 1915, though it wasn’t until 1948 that Masaka became the first filly to win both the Epsom Oaks and the Irish Oaks.
However, the Oaks double has been achieved on several occasions since then, including three times this century, by Ouija Board, Sariska and Snow Fairy, who were all trained by English trainers.
- Aidan O’Brien has trained 5 of the last 11 winners
- English trainers have trained 4 of the last 8 winners
- Sir Michael Stoute has trained the most winners – 6
- SPs of the last 10 winners have ranged from evens to 14/1
The Major Contenders
John Gosden has become a brilliant trainer of fillies over the last few seasons, training Great Heavens to win the 2012 Irish Oaks, and Taghrooda to win the 2014 Epsom Oaks. This season, he has already trained Enable to win the Epsom Oaks, and the abundant stamina she showed there to pull 5-lengths clear of dual classic runner-up Rhodendron will make her very hard to beat.
Sir Michael Stoute’s horse is owned by the same owner as Enable, so she may not line up in the race. However, if she does, this beautifully bred filly, out of two of her owner’s favourite horses in Frankel and Midday, could prove the biggest challenger to Enable after she was second at Royal Ascot.
Another Gosden trained filly, she improved last time out to win a Group 2 at Royal Ascot, finishing a neck in front of Mori. She is in different ownership to Enable, so connections may run her against the Epsom Oaks winner, unless Godsen persuades them otherwise.
Aidan O’Brien’s filly has already finished second to Enable at Chester, and third behind her in the Epsom Oaks. However, she can be forgiven her poor run at Royal Ascot where she appeared not to like the very fast ground.
Charlie Appleby’s filly won a Group 1 in France earlier in the season, when she had Coronet behind. Sent-off 20/1 that day, she was only 6/1 for the Epsom Oaks, but didn’t take to the track. It may be that she wants soft ground, and could be a surprise package if the rain arrives.
Promise To Be True
The Aidan O’Brien trained winners haven’t always been the stable’s shortest-priced runners, with his last 2 winners being sent-off at 10/1 and 14/1. Therefore, the beautifully bred Promise To Be True is a potentially interesting challenger at this stage, having been sent-off the 9/4 favourite in a race that was won by dual classic runner-up Hydrangea, with dual 1,000 Guineas winner Winter in second. Ryan Moore rode her that day over 7-furlongs, and she’s very much bred to appreciate this big step-up in trip.
Victory for Enable would be no surprise, but she’s certainly no ante-post proposition as she’s already long odds-on. However, with doubts surrounding the participation of both Mori and Coronet, there’s definitely the potential for an each-way bet, and Promise To Be True could show her true promise stepped up in distance.
Tip: Promise To Be True