Snowfall set to be red-hot favourite to complete Oaks double at the Curragh

The Aidan O’Brien-trained filly won the English Oaks by a spectacular 16 lengths

Snowfall is set to start one of the shortest Classic favourites in years at the Curragh on Saturday by bidding to become the 15th filly to complete the English-Irish Oaks double.

On the back of her spectacular 16-length rout at Epsom last month Snowfall is an overwhelming favourite for the €400,000 Juddmonte Irish Oaks against a maximum of eight possible opponents.

Of those half are Snowfall’s stable companions from Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard as the champion trainer targets a record-equalling sixth win in the race.

Bookmakers reckon the biggest threat to Snowfall comes from the Ribblesdale third Nicest, trained by O'Brien's son, Donnacha, while the latter's brother, Joseph, has left in the outsider Mariesque.


The only other two potential runners are Fozzy Stack's 86-rated Ahandfulofsummers and Party House from last year's winning trainer, Ger Lyons.

Not surprisingly initial bookmaker reaction was to make Snowfall a 2-7 favourite to become the first since Enable in 2017 to do the Oaks double.

Enable started 2-5 that year but such is the apparent paucity of the opposition that Snowfall could start much shorter despite the likelihood of faster ground conditions than applied in Epsom.

On that occasion Frankie Dettori acclaimed her as the easiest Classic winner he'd ever ridden as she became the widest margin Oaks winner ever.

Australia won the Irish Derby at odds of 1-8 in 2014 while another O'Brien star, Camelot, won the same race at 1-5 two years previously.

However, Order Of St George started a prohibitive 1-7 for the 2016 Irish St Leger and memorably got turned over by the Dettori-ridden Wicklow Brave.

O’Brien has three runners in Wednesday’s Bastille Day feature at Longchamp, the Grand Prix de Paris.

The Royal Ascot handicap runner-up Sir Lamorak (Mickael Barzalona) is rated an 8-1 fifth-best with most layers behind the Irish Derby hero Hurricane Lane for the mile and a half contest, due off at 7.20 Irish-time.

Wordsworth, third to Hurricane Lane at the Curragh, also takes his chance under Olivier Peslier. Wayne Lordan is on The Mediterranean.

O’Brien has won the Grand Prix de Paris five times, including for the last three years.

The King Edward VII Stakes winner Alenquer takes his chance while the big home hope could be Cheshire Academy, fifth in the French Derby last month but from an all but impossible wide draw.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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