Enable hot favourite to complete English-Irish Oaks double

Frankie Dettori bidding for his fourth success in the race on John Gosden’s star

Enable is a heavy favourite to become the 14th filly to complete the English-Irish Oaks double at the Curragh on Saturday evening.

The John Gosden-trained star was a superb five-length winner at Epsom last month, beating the Aidan O'Brien-trained Rhododendron in a classic almost as memorable for the dramatic weather conditions it was run in as for Enable's impressive display.

Bookmakers reckon she is set fair to double up in this weekend’s €400,000 Darley Irish Oaks with some firms rating her a 1-3 shot to follow in the footsteps of cross-channel stars such as Ouija Board (2004), Sariska (2009) and Snow Fairy (2010) who all completed the Epsom-Curragh classic double.

Snow Fairy was the last to manage it but Enable could start even shorter than other double-heroines such Alexandrova who was 8-15 in 2006 and Ramruma, a 4-9 winner in 1999.


"She ran a superb race at Epsom against a very good filly. She has been in good order since and it was always been the plan to go to The Curragh, " Gosden reported.

“She hasn’t been over raced. She was impressive at Chester and Epsom and she won a two year old race well towards the backend. We are hopeful that she is very much going in the right direction,” added Britain’s leading trainer.

The going at the Curragh is currently “good to firm” on the round course with showers forecast over the coming days. Conditions are unlikely to turn as unfavourable as they did at Epsom though.

“The weather at Epsom was a strange one with the lightning bolts before the race. They raced in a heavy, massive thunder storm and it was it was all gone two minutes after the race,” Gosden recalled.

“They started in dry lightning and they got halfway up the hill at Epsom and they ran under this big, black cloud.”

Gosden won the Irish Oaks with Great Heavens in 2012 while Frankie Dettori will attempt to secure a fourth win in the race on board Enable. The Italian jockey first won on Lailani in 2001 and also scored on Vintage Tipple (2003) and Blue Bunting in 2011.

Big sprint

Gosden is keeping open the option of running his Ribblesdale Stakes winner Coronet too. Bracelet won the Royal Ascot race three years ago before securing classic honours at the Curragh.

The Oaks is due off at 5.55 on Saturday and the likely make-up of the race will become more clear after Tuesday’s forfeit stage.

The big sprint on the Oaks card will be the Group Two Qatar Airways Sapphire Stakes but Saturday's speed focus is firmly on Newmarket's July Cup and Caravaggio's attempt to maintain his unbeaten record.

Aidan O’Brien’s latest sprint star faces another clash with Godolphin’s Harry Angel who chased him home in Royal Ascot’s Commonwealth Cup last month.

The Diamond Jubilee hero The Tin Man will also line up as will the July Cup title-holder, Limato. A total of 15 horses remain in the six furlong Group One contest.

One horse likely to make the reverse journey across the Irish Sea is the triple-Epsom Dash winner, Caspian Prince, who is set to line up in the Sapphire.

“The Sapphire is the next race for him and he should be competitive. After that we’d like to have a go at the Beverley Bullet again,” said his trainer Tony Coyle.

Tuesday's Roscommon card is all National Hunt and the step up to two and a half miles can see the Ballinrobe winner Product Of Love successfully concede weight all-round in the novice hurdle.

A step up in trip can also work for West Burma in the first bumper. Willie Mullins' charge never threatened on his debut when a warm odds-on favourite.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column