Irish Oaks Tips: Snowfall to lead home an O'Brien 1-2-3

Snowfall is the hot favourite to win back-to-back Oaks.
Snowfall is the hot favourite to win back-to-back Oaks.

We've got Classic action to enjoy this weekend in the form of the Irish Oaks, where Snowfall looks to make it back-to-back Group 1 wins. Joe Tuffin looks at the race and predicts his first three past the post... 

There really is only one question that needs to be answered when looking at this Saturday’s Irish Oaks at the Curragh races, and that’s whether or not it’s already a foregone conclusion. See, sitting pretty at the top of the market at a very slim 1/4 is the winner (though that doesn’t quite do her performance justice) of the English Oaks - Snowfall. The Aidan O’Brien superstar broke records when pulverising her opponents at Epsom to record a 16-length success under Frankie Dettori - the furthest winning distance in the race's 242 year history - and was duly installed as the 5/1 favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. This performance at Epsom was a big step forward from her Musidora win at York, which in its own right was a huge step forward from her two-year-old form, and with only two runs this year you can be sure she’s still on the upward curve. In short, it would take either an unusually sub-par performance from Snowfall or an unusually above-par performance from one of her seven rivals for her to fail to claim her second Classic, and she is expected to live up to her ever growing reputation with victory at the Curragh.

Horse Racing Bet £20 & Get Money Back As Cash If It Loses

#Ad. New customers only, bet up to £20 on the Exchange and if your first bet loses, we’ll refund you £20 in Cash. Bet must be placed in first 7 days of account opening. T&Cs apply. Payment restrictions apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org

But what of her rivals? I’m sure no one is reading Irish Oaks previews with a view of being satisfied with a 1/4 tip, so who can chase her down and fill the placings? Naturally, one looks towards the remaining three Aidan O’Brien runners for clues and of course, you don’t have to look too far down the market. The 3rd, 4th and 5th in the market all belong to the Ballydoyle maestro, with Divinely, Willow and La Joconde sitting at 11/1, 14/1 and 40/1 respectively.

Divinely is the one that immediately catches the eye after placing in the Epsom Oaks, albeit some 18th lengths behind Snowfall, but you would have liked to have seen her kick on from this performance and a fairly average fourth in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot doesn’t quite fill you with the confidence that she’ll be the one breathing down Snowfall’s neck in the business end of the race, and of O’Brien senior’s three outside of Snowfall it may be Willow that can pick up some blacktype. Seamie Heffernan takes the ride on this recent Listed winner, ditching Divinely (his Oaks ride) who instead is piloted by Wayne Lordon, and with a fairly impressive win last time out in the Listed Oaks Trial it’s not hard to see why. Willow was always touted as an Oaks horse and spent a large period of the season near the top of the market for the Epsom Classic, though It was hard to see why when she tailed off last. That run was almost too bad to be true, and although workmanlike in the Irish Oaks Trial last time out, she was always doing enough to claim the win and looks to be somewhat back on track after the Epsom flop. Is she going to beat Snowfall? No, not a chance, but she is fancied to claim a place.

O’Brien’s other runner, La Joconde, is a huge 40/1 at the time of writing and with only one win to her name, in maiden company last time out, she is probably priced up fairly and best ignored. Also a runner in the English Oaks, also priced at 40/1 on that occasion, she finished a detached but predictable 11th and prior to that failed to land a blow in the Listed Cheshire Oaks. She doesn’t look like she has the class to be featuring in Group 1 races and she would have to put in a career best x5 to feature here.

It’s perhaps obvious that the second favourite in the market is the one fancied to chase Snowfall down, but Donnacha O'Brien’s Nicest looks to be the only other in the field of eight with the quality to threaten at Group level. A winner on debut at two, she’s been seen three times this season and has form of 343, with the latest performance in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes the most eye-catching. Having started the race at 28/1 with only two below her in the market, she tried to make all and was only headed on the home straight, at which point you’d have expected her to fall out the back of the TV but this filly kept plugging on and almost played herself back into the picture in the final furlong. It was far from an error-free race, too. Wayne Lordon dropped the reigns two-furlongs from home, and she was discovered to have lost her left-fore shoe post race. Would a smoother race have seen her bridge that two-and-a-half length gap? It’s very possible, and she’d have been much shorter in the market if she did, so she is expected to claim second at the Curragh on Saturday.

Sticking with the O’Brien family, Joseph O’Brien was hardly going to miss the Irish Oaks party and he’s sent his thrice raced Mariesque, who kicked off her three-year-old season with a win in Maiden company before taking on the previously mentioned Willow in the Oaks Trial. She finished fifth at Naas that day, some four-and-three-quarter lengths behind Willow and is seemingly excuseless for that performance. She’s currently 40/1 to claim victory here and would need to take a huge step forward to land a blow, but with only three runs under her belt that isn’t entirely impossible. 

The field is completed by two non-O’Brien runners in Ger Lyons’ Party House and the Stack Racing Ahandfulofsummers, both of whom sit bottom of the market at 40/1 and 66/1 respectively. The prior mentioned Party House looked to be an exciting prospect when winning on debut, but she’s since finished third and sixth, the latter behind Willow, in Listed company and will need to quickly turn around her form to land a blow here, which looks unlikely. The rank outsider Ahandfulofsummers is one of the more experienced in the field with seven runs under her belt, though she is still a maiden and her competition has never gone beyond Group 3 level. This is a huge step up in class and she’d have to put in one of the performances of the century to drop that maiden tag on Saturday, so she is best left.

Predicted top three:

  1. Snowfall
  2. Nicest
  3. Willow
Irish Oaks Odds
Advert Disclaimer
Horseracing.net is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Horseracing.net accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.

Bet £10 Get £30 Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus

#AD Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using promo code M40 only. 1x per customer. Min £/€10 bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Free bets of 2 x £/€15 issued after first qualifying bet settles. Max £/€10 Bonus. 35x wagering requirement. Max redeemable bonus: £25. Casino bonus expires after 72 hours. UK & Eire only. Additional T&Cs, including free-bet, game, location, payment method and stake contributions apply. begambleaware.org.
Welcome Offer
#AD Open Account Offer. Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. The bonus code ‘100BET365’ can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Money Back As CASH Up To £20 (APP Only)
#AD New customers only. Deposit £20 using card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply
Bet £10 Get £40 In Bonuses
#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in and place a £10 bet on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00+ within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Horse Racing Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00+. Plus, a £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.
Bet £10 Get £30 + 30 Free Spins
#AD New UK & NI customers only. Promo code SPORTS60. Deposit and place first sports bet of £10+ in one transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0)+, settled within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 30 Free Spins on Blue Wizard at £0.10 per spin. 7-day expiry. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As CASH If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Get Up To £100 In Free Bets
#AD New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD. New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org. 18+
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets
#AD Min stake £10. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Online UK customers only. 30 days to qualify for £20 in Free Bets. 18+. T&Cs apply
£25 Free Bet + 10 Free Spins
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £25 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins on Asgard Warriors. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
£10 Welcome Offer
#AD UK & ROI customers only. 18+. Place your first bet on sports pools and if it loses we’ll refund your stake in cash. Max refund is £10. Qualifying bet is the first sports pool bet added to the betslip. Ten to Follow bets do not qualify. Totewin will be the qualifying bet when a Totewin and a Toteplace bet are struck at the same time. BeGambleaware.org T&Cs apply
Today's Most tipped
Aljaryaal silk
Wolverhampton 16:00
Add All Tips To Betslip
Latest racing results
Fairyhouse
15:40
1st Royal Romeo
1st Kilbunny Pontic
3rd Sa Fureur
Fairyhouse
15:10
1st Gua Du Large
2nd Glan
3rd Magic Tricks
Leicester
15:00
1st Made For You
2nd Tinnahalla
3rd Begin The Luck
View All Today's Results