FIFTEEN fillies have stood their ground in what promises to be a fascinating renewal of the Group One Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh next Saturday, 19th July. Taghrooda and Tarfasha, first and second respectively in the Epsom Oaks, feature strongly among the entry, but the pair will face stern opposition from the likes of Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas winner Marvellous. The latter is one of six fillies left in the race from the powerful Ballydoyle stable.
“Taghrooda is in great form and will travel over by ferry early on Friday morning,” commented a stable spokesman for John Gosden, who trains the filly for Hamdan Al Maktoum. “She should arrive at the Curragh mid-morning on Friday and will have plenty of time to settle in. She has won on good and good to firm ground so hopefully there won’t be too much rain in Ireland.”
Aside from Marvellous, Aidan O’Brien has left Bracelet, Just Gorgeous, Tapestry, Palace and Beyond Brilliance in the race. The latter pair finished first and third respectively in a Listed contest and Killarney on Monday evening and running plans regarding the six entries will be taken before final declaration time at 10am on Thursday.
Trainer Pat Shanahan has committed Maid Of The Glens to Saturday’s race, and is hopeful of a big run from his filly. “Maid Of The Glens will definitely take her chance,” remarked Shanahan. “She won her maiden (over and extended nine furlongs) at Hamilton last month by six lengths despite idling in front and will be well suited by the step up to a mile and a half at the weekend. The quality of opposition may not have been great that day but she could only do what she had to do. She is a tough, improving filly and would appreciate a drop of rain over the coming day.”
Avenue Gabriel ran a fine race when keeping on to be fourth behind Marvellous in the Etihad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas, but ran no sort of race when down the field behind Thistle Bird in the Newbridge Silverware Pretty Polly Stakes at this venue subsequently. “She just could not handle the fast ground in the Pretty Polly and would need rain if she were to line up on Saturday,” said her trainer Paul Deegan. “She is a good filly as she showed in the Irish 1000 Guineas and is in great form.”
Apart from Taghrooda, there are also three other British-trained challengers left in the race, namely Richard Hannon’s Lustrous, Luca Cumani’s Volume and the Mick Channon-trained Nancy From Nairobi. Dermot Weld has also left Vote Often in the race, while Pat Fahy’s Ballybacka Queen completes the field.
Bookmakers Paddy Power have installed Taghrooda as their 4/5 favourite and then go 6/1 Marvellous and Tarfasha, 7/1 Bracelet, 8/1 Volume, 14/1 Tapestry, 16/1 Lustrous, Palace and Vote Often, 33/1 Avenue Gabriel, 50/1 Ballybacka Queen and Beyond Brilliance, 66/1 Nancy From Nairobi, 100/1 Just Gorgeous and Maid Of The Glens.
The Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes is the feature event on day 2 of Darley Irish Oaks Weekend , Sunday, 20th July, and 20 horses remain in the nine furlong contest, including the John Oxx-trained My Titania. Other notable entries for this race are Afternoon Sunlight, Alive Alive Oh, Along Came Casey, Mango Diva, Bracelet, Palace and Lahinch Classics. Meanwhile there are 23 entries for the ultra competitive Rockingham Handicap, including Extortionist, Caspian Prince, Great Minds and Great White Eagle.
The ground at the Curragh is currently good to firm on the straight course and good to firm, firm in places on the round course. Watering is taking place.
For information on tickets and dining packages please call 045 441205 email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.curragh.ie
In addition to great racing, the Obrien’s Wine Most Stylish Lady competition in association with Stella & Dot takes place on Saturday, while Defence Forces Race Day on Sunday will feature a variety of displays and exhibitions for all the family to enjoy.
1st race Saturday 3pm and Sunday 2.15pm
Free car parking. Irish Rail service to Kildare Town with free shuttle to racecourse. Dublin Coach also provide race day service (see www.dublincoach.ie)