Tag Archive for: Irish Oaks

Dance saves her best for last to claim Irish Oaks

Savethelastdance claimed victory from the jaws of defeat in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

A 22-length winner of the Cheshire Oaks in May, Aidan O’Brien’s filly subsequently filled the runner-up spot behind Soul Sister in the Oaks at Epsom and was a warm order to go one better on home soil.

But supporters of the 10-11 favourite would have been seriously worried early in the home straight, with Moore already hard at work while British raider Bluestocking breezed into contention.

The latter looked sure to secure top honours after eventually mastering the pacesetting 80-1 outsider Library, but Savethelastdance kept responding to Moore’s urgings and flashed home to prevail by half a length and provide her trainer with an seventh victory in the Irish Classic.

“It’s a long time since she ran, she had a break after Epsom and obviously we knew this was her first run back for an autumn campaign,” said O’Brien.

“She’s a big relaxed mare. Obviously the ground was way different than what she ran on the last time.

“Chris Hayes’ filly (Azazat) just came around her when she was just starting to get going and she might have gotten a little bit intimidated by it.

“The lads were delighted with her at home, she was thriving and doing great. Ryan gave her a brilliant ride, he re-motivated her. When she was in a little bit of trouble he kept her coming forward without panicking and got her out, then he asked her to come again.

“It’s a very difficult thing to motivate a horse on that type of ground but she did answer for him. He was brilliant on her.”

Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore with Savethelastdance at the Curragh
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore with Savethelastdance at the Curragh (Niall Carson/PA)

Considering future plans, the trainer added: “Obviously we know she stays very well. I’d say she’s going to sharpen up a good bit from today.

“You can bounce her out as forward as you want and I’d say she will find plenty and save plenty.

“She’s a massive big masculine filly, she’s unusual as she’s a filly but she has a pair of horns on her head which is very unusual for a filly. She has a big, strong backside on her.

“It’s very possible (she will stay in training next year), the lads have been doing that if everything is well over the last few years. If they decided that we’d be delighted.

“We’re treating this as her first run of an autumn campaign.”

Savethelastdance gets second chance at Classic gold

Epsom runner-up Savethelastdance bids to go one better in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh – in which stablemate and Royal Ascot winner Warm Heart is seen as her main threat.

Savethelastdance, the choice of Ryan Moore, was an unheralded filly through the winter having only finished fifth on her sole start at two.

She reappeared in April on heavy ground at Leopardstown, where she surprised by winning at odds of 20-1 before destroying the opposition in the Cheshire Oaks at Chester by 22 lengths.

On quicker ground in the Oaks at Epsom, she was beaten into second by Soul Sister and trainer Aidan O’Brien expects the more conventional nature of the Curragh to suit her better.

Savethelastdance spreadeagled the opposition at Chester
Savethelastdance spreadeagled the opposition at Chester (David Davies/PA)

“Obviously the two of them don’t work together, so it’s going to be interesting,” O’Brien said of the clash between his two smart fillies.

“There’s not much between them on the ratings, Savethelastdance is just a little higher.

“We always thought the Curragh would suit her better and the ground was quick enough in Epsom for her, so she’ll probably prefer a bit more of an ease on Saturday.

“She’s been in good form since and she’s had a nice break, too. Everything has gone well since (Epsom).”

Warm Heart stepped up from beating the reopposing Bluestocking by a head in a Newbury Listed heat to extend her superiority over Ralph Beckett’s charge in the Ribblesdale at Ascot.

“We were delighted with Warm Heart in the Ribblesdale because we weren’t exactly sure about her over a mile and a half,” said O’Brien.

“Obviously she got it well and we’ve been happy with her since.

“She definitely improved at Ascot, whether it was the distance or whatever, but she definitely did improve.”

O’Brien also runs Be Happy and Library.

Bluestocking is aiming to give Beckett a second Irish Classic in two years after Westover’s Derby success last year.

She is owned by Juddmonte, who sponsor the race, and their European bloodstock manager Barry Mahon said: “On the formbook she has to improve, but she’s a lightly-raced filly with only three runs, so we feel that there could be some progression there.

“She’s met Warm Heart twice and been beaten twice so she has a bit to find, but she’s in good form, we feel that she’s learning on the job and we’re hopeful of a good run.

“We saw how green she was at Newbury and Frankie (Dettori) felt she was green at Ascot. She got stuck on the rail and when the gap came, she didn’t really know what to do to get through it, but then picked up and finished off well.

“We hope she’ll be a bit more streetwise on Saturday, the track should suit her, it’s not a big field and a bit easier ground should suit as well. We’re hopeful rather than confident.”

Azazat (green) on her way to winning her maiden at Leopardstown
Azazat (green) on her way to winning her maiden at Leopardstown (Brian Lawless/PA)

Azazat represents Dermot Weld and the Aga Khan. Weld last won the race in 1996 with Dance Design.

Chris Hayes rides the Munster Oaks runner-up and said: “She is a nice filly, who has progressed with every run. She has handled slow ground and she stays quite well. She is bred to possibly get further and I’m looking forward to her.

“She is very straightforward to ride, uncomplicated.

“That form with Rosscarbery (Munster Oaks winner), to come from a maiden and take on a filly like her with that kind of experience, I thought was a good run. Rosscarbery drifted out a little bit on top of her.

“I think she has come forward for that run and hopefully she can put up a good performance.

“She has handled soft ground and circumstance has just led us to run her that way.”

Savethelastdance heads O’Brien quartet in Irish Oaks

Savethelastdance is one of four runners for Aidan O’Brien in a field of eight declared for the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday.

The master of Ballydoyle has already won the fillies’ Classic on six occasions, a joint-record alongside Sir Michael Stoute.

O’Brien looks to have every chance of going out on his own this weekend, with 22-length Cheshire Oaks winner Savethelastdance the likely favourite on her first start since finishing best of the rest behind Soul Sister in the Oaks at Epsom last month.

Her biggest threat could prove to be her stablemate Warm Heart, who completed a hat-trick in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

Lingfield Oaks Trial runner-up Be Happy and Listed winner Library complete the quartet.

British hopes are carried by Ralph Beckett’s Bluestocking, who was beaten a head by Warm Heart on her penultimate start at Newbury, but has almost four lengths to find with the same rival from their clash in the Ribblesdale just over four weeks ago.

Splitting the pair in second at the Royal meeting was the Joseph O’Brien-trained Lumiere Rock who adds further strength in depth to the Irish Oaks field.

Azazat, second in the Munster Oaks last time out for Dermot Weld, and Jim Bolger’s Irish 1,000 Guineas third Comhra are the other hopefuls.

Savethelastdance on course for second Classic chance

Savethelastdance could have stablemate Warm Heart among eight rivals when she has another crack at Classic honours in Saturday’s Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge was sent off favourite for the Betfred Oaks at Epsom after a 22-length demolition job in the Cheshire Oaks, but she could not quite catch Soul Sister and was beaten a length and three-quarters.

Fellow Ballydoyle runner Warm Heart appears to be her chief threat, with that filly stepping up from a Newbury Listed win to claim the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot. O’Brien also has Be Happy, Lambada and Library in the field, while his son Joseph can call on Ribblesdale runner-up Lumiere Rock.

The Ralph Beckett-trained Bluestocking is familiar with Warm Heart, having been beaten a head at Newbury and just under four lengths when third at Ascot.

Dermot Weld’s Azazat and the Jim Bolger-trained Comhra complete the list of possibles.

Art Power has won each of his three starts at the Curragh and Tim Easterby’s charge leads 11 contenders for the Barberstown Castle Sapphire Stakes after finishing a fair fourth in the July Cup last weekend.

Karl Burke’s ParisLongchamp Group Three winner White Lavender has been supplemented for the five-furlong contest, which also features Ladies Church, Go Athletico and Moss Tucker.

Emily Dickinson could drop back to a mile and six furlongs in the Comer Group International Curragh Cup after coming home fourth over two and a half miles in the Gold Cup at Ascot.

Fellow Aidan O’Brien contenders include Broome and Gooloogong, winner of a Navan maiden, with Joseph O’Brien’s Duke of Edinburgh Stakes winner Okita Soushi a possible for the Group Two affair.

Valiant King, who was just touched off by Desert Hero in the King George V Stakes at the Royal meeting, is another to note for O’Brien junior, as is Rosscarbery for Paddy Twomey after her luckless Pretty Polly Stakes run.

The Jebel Ali Racecourse And Stables Anglesey Stakes has a rich history and after saddling Little Big Bear to win 12 months ago, Aidan O’Brien has five to pick from, headlined by narrow Chesham second Pearls And Rubies.

Twomey houses one of the key performers for Sunday’s Romanised Minstrel Stakes in Just Beautiful, winner of a Curragh Group Two when last seen in May.

Jumbly finished second on that occasion and could try her luck again, while Ger Lyons has three contenders, including recent Group Three scores Zarinsk and Power Under Me.

Coronation Stakes third Sounds Of Heaven is the star name in the Michael John Kennedy Memorial Stakes as she drops back to Group Three level and inches up to nine furlongs for Jessica Harrington.