Supplementary entries for Irish Oaks to boost an already intriguing Classic
Connections will be keeping a close eye on the “good to firm” ground conditions, with more watering planned
Juddmonte have already confirmed they will pay up to get their impressive Ribblesdale winner Riposte (above).
Almost as much money as water could be floating about the Curragh today with some of Europe’s most high-powered bloodstock empires on the verge of supplementing their way into Saturday evening’s €400,000 Darley Irish Oaks.
A fee of €40,000 is required to add a filly into the Classic at this morning’s five-day forfeit stage but Juddmonte have already confirmed they will pay up to get their impressive Ribblesdale winner Riposte in, while Aidan O’Brien is examining the possibility of putting his hugely progressive and unbeaten filly Venus De Milo into the Oaks.
Shawanda in 2005 was the last French-trained winner of the Irish Oaks and the Prix Saint-Alary winner Silasol, owned by the Wertheimer Brothers who also own the French Derby hero Intello, is another possible supplementary entry, as is The Lark, third for Michael Bell in the Epsom Oaks behind the Ralph Beckett pair, Talent and Secret Gesture.
Silasol was third in the Prix de Diane, the French Oaks, last month, behind the hugely impressive winner Treve, while the runner-up at Chantilly, Chicquita, is another contender from France.
Both Beckett stars remain possibles for the Curagh, with Talent currently the more definite of the two. Michael Stoute’s Liber Nauticus, fifth at Epsom, but winner of the Musidora, had been in contention to travel but was ruled out yesterday.
Tommy Stack’s unbeaten Alive Alive Oh is likely to be a high-profile home hope left in at today’s declaration stage.
However, what all connections will be keeping a close eye on is ground conditions which yesterday were “good to firm” at HQ after a full week of watering, which is likely to continue through this week.
“The forecast is settled and we are happy where we are with the ground at the moment. We started watering last Monday because the last thing we wanted was to start watering on hard ground and trying to get it back,” said the Curragh manager Paul Hensey who confirmed the track’s watering system has been paying its way.
“Basically we put down about half an inch of water every second day. That’s a lot of water for both the straight and round courses but we have our own reservoir on the Curragh and we use a tow-line sprinkler system which can do two furlongs at a time,” he added.
Saturday’s main-support event is the Group Three Minstrel Stakes which is a likely target for the Prix de la Foret winner Gordon Lord Byron. Aidan O’Brien has indicated his American import, an impressive winner of his Irish debut at Naas, is an intended starter in the seven-furlong event.