Shining Success For Lustrous In Irish Oaks
The highlight of Saturday’s eight-race bonanza at the Curragh is the Group 1 Irish Oaks over 1m4f (5.45) – a race that has very much favoured fancied runners down the years with 17 of the last 18 winners having returned at 12/1 or shorter.
That theme could well continue at the weekend too, with several runners looking to gain compensation having missed out in the Epsom Oaks.
One such runner is Dermot Weld’s Tarfasha (5/2), who was beaten just under 4l at Epsom, holding on by a nose from Volume (4/1). The two lock horns once more at the Curragh, and there shouldn’t be much to split the pair, though a drop of rain may well suit Tarfasha should the heavens open.
Sandwiched between the pair in the market on 7/2 is Aidan O’Brien’s Marvellous, who won the Irish 1,000 Guineas here at the Curragh in May (1m, soft), before flopping when 4/1 favourite in the Epsom Oaks. Beaten by a total of 9l by Taghrooda on her first attempt up in trip away from the mud, she was well beaten over a furlong from home, and the prospect of even faster ground doesn’t inspire confidence. Should the rain arrive, then Marvellous could well bounce back.
With O’Brien having also won this race on three successive occasions from 2006-2008, the yard’s Bracelet (4/1) has to be considered. Unlike some of the other challengers to the favourite, Bracelet actually arrives in good form having made up for disappointing in the English 1,000 Guineas (beaten 10l) by winning a Group 2 at Royal Ascot (1m4f, good to firm).
Bracelet relished the step up in trip that day when showing plenty of determination to beat Lustrous (10/1) by 1/2l in a first-time visor, though whether the headgear has the desired effect remains to be seen.
O’Brien also has Tapestry (7/1), who won a Group 2 last season before just going down by uder 1l to Rizeena in a Group 1. Tapestry was beaten once more by that rival (3l) in a Group 1 at Royal Ascot (1m, good to firm), but this is a step up into the unknown for this daughter of Galileo.
It’s worth noting that aforementioned, Lustrous, was closing fast at the finish behind Bracelet at Royal Ascot having been left with a bit to do.
That career best effort on Lustrous’ first attempt over 1m4f also suggests there should be plenty more to come and she represents excellent each-way value for the Richard Hannon yard.
Another English raider who could feature is Luca Cumani’s Volume (4/1), having been beaten almost 4l in the Epsom Oaks behind Taghrooda, though she seemed to have every chance when weakening into third place.
While all the evidence points to the Epsom Oaks form having a big say here, one who could go well at each-way odds of 10/1 is Lustrous, who finished strongly at Royal Ascot when given too much to do, and whose chance will increase if the sun continues to shine.
All 18 winners raced during the last two months – 12 came via the English Oaks or Pretty Polly Stakes.
All 18 were ridden prominently or held up.
17 returned 12/1 or shorter.
17 made the top four last time.
17 ran in a Group event last time.
16 ran over 1m3f or further last time.
14 won that season – two of the three exceptions were the only ones not to have raced beyond 1m.
13 won over 1m2f or further.
Aidan O’Brien and Ed Dunlop trained three winners each, while John Oxx struck twice.