Irish Oaks Preview – Saturday 20th July
Last updated: July 18, 2019 by Leon Marshal
The biggest race in Europe this weekend is the Group 1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh at 5.10 on Saturday. The race has been won by many great fillies over the years including Dahlia (1973), User Friendly (1992), Ouija Board (2004) and Enable (2017).
Aidan O’Brien will be trying to equal the record of Sir Michael Stoute who has trained six Irish Oaks winners. O’Brien gained his fifth Oaks victory with Seventh Heaven in 2016. He had to settle for second place last year when Sea Of Class narrowly beat his Epsom Oaks winner Forever Together.
Pink Dogwood leads O’Brien Oaks team
O’Brien has a very strong hand again this season, led by Epsom runner-up Pink Dogwood. The daughter of Camelot looked to have made a winning run when hitting the front at the furlong pole but was denied by Anapurna. She dropped back to ten furlongs next time for the Pretty Polly Stakes but finished third behind Iridessa.
Stable companion Fleeting started at 25-1 at Epsom after finishing last in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Wayne Lordan held her up before weaving a passage through into third place, a length and a quarter behind the winner. She started favourite for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot next time when runner-up to Star Catcher.
Peach Tree finished well beaten at Ascot but left that form well behind to win a Group 3 at Leopardstown earlier this month. That was over a mile and three-quarters and she needs to find considerable improvement on her Epsom run when finishing only tenth.
Iridessa has improved with each race this season for Joseph O’Brien, culminating in her victory at the Curragh last month. That was her first run beyond a mile and she looks certain to relish the mile and a half on Saturday. She had looked tapped for toe in the English and Irish Guineas where she finished eighth and fourth respectively.
Star Catcher supplemented by Gosden team
Anapurna is not in the field but John Gosden is still represented by supplemented Ribblesdale winner Star Catcher. She had finished third over ten furlongs at Newbury on her previous start and proved much effective over a mile and a half. Frankie Dettori struck for home at the two furlong marker at Ascot and is likely to adopt similar tactics at the Curragh.
Ralph Beckett has declared both Antonia De Vega and Manuela De Vega, daughters of Lope De Vega. The former made an impressive seasonal reappearance to win a listed race at Newbury by four lengths last month. She had won a Group 3 at Goodwood last season before finishing lame in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket.
Manuela De Vega was hampered at a crucial stage when beaten by Mehdaayih in the Cheshire Oaks. She reversed the form with the winner in the Oaks when finishing an unlucky fourth behind Anapurna. Nothing really went her way at Epsom and she did well to finish as close as she did after receiving a hefty bump over a furlong out.
Trethias beat Search For A Song by two and three-quarter lengths in a listed race at Naas last time out. They are set to clash again here over a longer trip. Trethias should confirm the form but this is a big step up in class.
Manuela De Vega @9-1 at 888sport
Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3
The Irish Oaks is due off at 5.10 at the Curragh on Saturday 20th July and will be televised live on RTV.