Preview: Irish Oaks

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5.50 Curragh: Irish Oaks (Group 1), 1m 4f

Ribblesdale Stakes winner Curvy sets a strong the standard in the Irish Oaks. She is progressive, has strong course form and couldn’t have done more to impress at Royal Ascot. But there are plenty of dangers in this field so it certainly won’t be a walk in the park for the 5/2 favourite.

Aiden O’Brien’s cavalry consists of “only” three runners, after Qualify pulled out. Munster Oaks winner Words is the most fancied one of the trio. Only two starts to date, she can improve again and is clearly poised for a big run. Stable mate Together Forever was well beaten in the Epsom Oaks. She was up with a strong pace, got hampered 2f out and tired subsequently. She deserves another chance.

So does Kissed By Angels. An impressive winner of a hot 1m Leopardstown maiden earlier this year, she was last seen at Newmarket in the 1000 Guineas. After stumbling out off the gate, she probably made a bit too much early on, yet travelled quite strongly a most parts of the race – though didn’t find anything when it really mattered. Jockey booking is a big negative but the step up in trip should suit.

Jack Naylor wasn’t quite suited be run of the Epsom Oaks. She was a big eye-catcher in the Irish 1000 Guineas though and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her bounce back today. Jessica Harrington’s charge remains clearly with potential.

Three English raiders try their luck: James Fanshawe’s progressive Speedy Boarding faces arguably her toughest test. She is an intriguing contender, nonetheless. The same could be said about John Gosden’s Gretchen. She was thrown into deep water at Royal Ascot. On the back of a good maiden win, she run her heart out in the Ribblesdale Stake. Although caught wide in the home turn, she lost an awful lot of ground subsequently, She’ll have learned plenty on that day.

Hugo Palmers ships over Covert Love. This filly is still unbeaten in three starts this year and she may improve again as she steps up to 12f for the first time today.

Verdict: Intriguing contest. Curvy is a fair favourite but there is plenty of opposition in this race capable of taking her scalp. Together Forever with less aggressive tactics could be the main danger. But price wise I believe stable mate Kissed By Angels is massively overpriced. Still lightly raced, she travelled well in the Guineas and this new trip could see her in much better light.

Over the top is also the price on offer for Gretchen. She was green at Royal Ascot and didn’t have the run of the race. The galloping Curragh will suit down to the grounds and with natural progression she is a huge runner.

Gretchen @ 12/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win
Kissed By Angels @ 33/1 Betfred – 5pts Win

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