Irish Oaks Tips & Preview: Pepper can spice things up

Irish Oaks Tips: Cayenne Pepper (right) is a joint-favourite with Ennistymon at the time of writing.
Irish Oaks Tips: Cayenne Pepper (right) is a joint-favourite with Ennistymon at the time of writing.

Nick Seddon previews Saturday’s Irish Oaks at the Curragh, which features a large contingent from the Aidan O’Brien yard…

We seem to be slowly heading back towards normality now in the racing world, with crowds due back at Goodwood at the beginning of next month, and Saturday’s Irish Oaks at the Curragh will take place in its usual slot in mid-July.

It will be run slightly later than usual, though, taking place at 19:15 in the evening, and a field of eight runners will take their chance - aiming to emulate the likes of Enable, Sea Of Class and Star Catcher in adding their name to the roll of honour. 

As you would almost certainly expect for a Group 1 contest run in Ireland, Aidan O’Brien is responsible for half of the field, and his strongest chance according the market looks to come from Ennistymon, who was second behind Love in the Epsom Oaks at the beginning of the month.

That effort came on the back of a fine second behind Frankly Darling in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, and while she was ultimately well beaten by Love at Epsom, she seems suited by the mile and a half trip. That run is some of the strongest form on offer here, and bearing in mind that her stablemate Passion should ensure that there’s a reasonable pace for her to aim at, this likeable type ought to go close.

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Even So carries the pink colours of Mrs Magnier - which you would normally associate with the Aidan O’Brien team - but she represents Ger Lyons. The daughter of Camelot has shown some useful form in her five starts to date, and produced her best effort yet when winning a listed trial for this on her first try over a mile and a quarter at Naas at the beginning of the month. She had to work hard to win that day, but was suited by the step up in trip that day having finished a solid fifth in the 1000 Guineas on her previous outing, and her pedigree certainly suggests that the extra quarter of a mile will bring out some more improvement here - though she would need more for win purposes. 

The Aidan O’Brien quartet is instead completed by Laburnum, Snow and Passion. The first-named was a neck behind Even So at Naas last time out, though there was plenty to like about that performance bearing in mind that it was just her second outing, and she shaped as though she was still open to more improvement yet. Indeed, the step up to a mile and a half should suit, and she rates as an interesting each-way alternative. 

Passion is following an identical path to Ennistymon at the moment, and arrives here having finished third in the Ribblesdale and fifth in the English Oaks on her most recent start. She set a particularly strong pace at Epsom last time, doing well to hold on to fifth in the circumstances, and even though she’s entitled to improve yet, particularly if changing her approach, she may well be on pacemaker duties once again. More interesting is Snow, who won the Group 3 Munster Oaks at Cork in good style earlier this month. She’s improved for each of her five outings to date, and it would be no surprise to see her go close here. 

However, the runner who makes the most appeal is Cayenne Pepper. She's a likeable type, winning the Group 3 Flame of Tara Stakes over a mile here last summer, and although she couldn't match that form in her final start of last season in the Fillies' Mile at Newmarket, she caught the eye when second behind Magical on reappearance in the Pretty Polly Stakes here last month. She looked suited by the step up to a mile and a quarter that day, staying on well all the way to the line, and the extra two furlongs here should suit this daughter of Australia. She's interesting now returned to her own age group, and with that outing likely to have sharpened her up sufficiently for this, she can improve again for the step up in trip by taking this.

The field is completed by Yaxeni, and the Joseph O'Brien-trained New York Girl. The first-named has made just three starts so far, finishing fourth behind Snow in the Munster Oaks last time out. She looks well held on that form, and would need to take a significant step forward here. Meanwhile, New York Girl was down the field in the Irish Derby here last time out, and although the return to her own sex is more suitable an assignment, she needs plenty more here. With that in mind, it looks worth siding with Cayenne Pepper to build on her promising reappearance by taking this. 


Irish Oaks, Saturday 18th July - back Cayenne Pepper at 2/1

Irish Oaks
Cayenne Pepper silk

Cayenne Pepper

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