Irish Oaks preview: Iridessa appeals most for Curragh Classic

Published on: July 18, 2019
Author: Jamie Clark
2019 Irish Oaks preview includes Iridessa

Trainer Joseph O’Brien has a leading contender for the Group 1 Irish Oaks at The Curragh on Saturday (17:10) in Iridessa.

This three-year-old Ruler Of The World filly comes out 1lb clear of her nine rivals here on official ratings and relished stepping up in trip last time out.

Iridessa landed the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket as a juvenile from subsequent dual 1000 Guineas heroine Hermosa.

Connections kept her over seven and eight furlongs for her first three starts this season when she was crying out for further.

Although far from disgraced when third under a penalty behind the ill-fated Lady Kaya, or in either the British or Irish 1000 Guineas, Iridessa came into her own over 1m 2f when landing the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes here last month with plenty in hand.

As Iridessa had an extended lead close home and was value for more than the 2 1/4 lengths winning margin, the extra couple of furlongs should suit.

There is also no reason to think she won’t confirm the form with Pink Dogwood, the third filly home. The pair are duking it out for favouritism.

Backers of Pink Dogwood have been stung twice by her in Group 1 company when turned over in both the Epsom Oaks and Pretty Polly.

There were no excuses last time out, and Pink Dogwood may have more to find than the 1lb difference on official figures suggests.

Wayne Lordan, who is two from three aboard Iridessa, is once again in the saddle. This trip looks tailor-made for her.

At the 5/2 on offer with Unibet, Iridessa is preferred for the 2019 Irish Oaks over Pink Dogwood and readily taken to confirm course form in this Curragh Classic.

Fleeting fancied most of Ballydoyle Irish Oaks trio

Joseph’s father Aidan O’Brien has trained five previous winners of the race and saddles three this year in search of the spoils.

With Pink Dogwood plenty short enough at 3/1 with Bethard, preference is for Ribblesdale Stakes runner-up Fleeting from the Ballydoyle trio.

This daughter of Zoffany has just over a length to find on Pink Dogwood on Epsom Oaks form and was unlucky in-running at Royal Ascot last time out.

Fleeting was twice denied a clear run in the Ribblesdale, so couldn’t reach the winner. Granted a clearer passage, that Group 2 race may have turned out very differently.

Fleeting was sent off the 7/4 favourite at the royal meeting and, unlike recent Pink Dogwood outings, there were excuses. Based on that, she looks well worth another crack at the highest level.

As Fleeting only has 1 1/2 lengths to find on Star Catcher, the Ribblesdale form could easily be reversed – provided she stays out of trouble.

At the odds on offer, Fleeting is simply better value than Pink Dogwood at 7/1 with Betway.

While her stable companion is obviously respected as a Classic runner-up by a neck, she hasn’t fully lived up to expectations and is opposed.

Peach Tree is the third of the Aidan O’Brien trained trio engaged in the 2019 Irish Oaks. This Galileo filly is quickly turned out after winning a Group 3 over 1m 6f at Leopardstown last week.

While form over further is a plus if it becomes a test of stamina, Peach Tree’s performances over this trip and at this level leave a lot to be desired.

She finished 10th in both the Epsom Oaks and Ribblesdale, and was turned over in the Munster Oaks despite getting 14lb from the winner.

Star Catcher and Manuela De Vega look best of British

British raiders have a fine recent record in the Irish Oaks with seven victories since 2009.

John Gosden trained two of those, so the supplemented Ribblesdale winner Star Catcher is obviously worth considering.

This Anthony Oppenheimer owned daughter of Sea The Stars has the run of the race at Royal Ascot on her first start at the trip.

Facing Fleeting again on her side of the Irish Sea may see the tables turned on Star Catcher. She is a progressive sort for a powerful British yard that remains in good form, however.

Both of Star Catcher’s career wins have come on soft going and significant rainfall is needed for her to get those conditions at The Curragh.

With just four career starts under her belt, Star Catcher remains open to plenty of improvement.

That’s reflected in odds of 9/2 with Betfred for her to follow-up in the Irish Oaks here.

Ralph Beckett and owners Waverley Racing saddle half-sisters Antonia De Vega and Manuela De Vega in this.

Preference is for the latter, who was a close-up fourth in the Epsom Oaks and has been rested since.

Prior to that, Manuela De Vega won both her starts as a juvenile and chased home Mehdaayih in the Cheshire Oaks during the May Festival.

As she’s got just a length to find on Fleeting, odds of 10/1 with Boylesports should also enter calculations.

Antonio De Vega, meanwhile, ran out an impressive winner of a Listed affair at Newbury which last year’s Irish Oaks heroine Sea Of Class also took en route.

Whether she has the same scope to follow in that filly’s hoofprints remains to be seen.

This demands plenty more, but there’s each-way value in the 12/1 available at Ladbrokes on Antonio De Vega here.