Snowfall seeks Classic double in Irish Oaks

Snowfall bids for a second Classic in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh – with Aidan O’Brien pleased the public is seeing what he has long witnessed from her on the Ballydoyle gallops.

In seven runs as a juvenile, the daughter of Deep Impact managed just one victory – in a maiden at the Curragh – but O’Brien rated her highly enough to run her in four Group races, including two at the top level.

She finished out of the money in all of them, but it has been a completely different story this season.

On her reappearance at York in the Musidora, Snowfall made all of the running for a comfortable success – before Frankie Dettori took the ride in the Oaks, with Ryan Moore preferring Santa Barbara.

Of all Dettori’s many Group One successes, he has never ridden an easier winner than Snowfall – who came home 16 lengths clear.

“We were delighted with her at Epsom,” said O’Brien.

“She’s had a lovely run at York in the Musidora – and that set her up nicely for Epsom, obviously.

“Last year she was always showing a lot at home – that’s why she was running in all those good races – but obviously she has got stronger over the winter.

“Maybe she was a little bit weak or something last year, but we always liked what we saw at home.

“I know she’s been winning on soft ground, but we always thought that nice ground would suit her.”

Only eight go to post on Saturday – and O’Brien provides half the field, with Willow, Divinely and La Joconde completing his team.

“Willow won a nice trial last time out and she’s in good form – we’ve been happy with her since Naas,” he said.

Aidan O’Brien supplies four of the eight runners in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks - including odds-on favourite Snowfall
Aidan O’Brien supplies four of the eight runners in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks – including odds-on favourite Snowfall (Nigel French/PA)

“Divinely had a lovely run around Epsom and a nice run at Ascot, and she seems to have been in good form since.

“La Joconde won her maiden last time out, and she seems to be in good form as well.”

Donnacha O’Brien’s Nicest is bred for the job, out of an Irish Oaks winner Chicquita, while Joseph O’Brien is represented by Mariesque.

Ger Lyons runs Party House, with Fozzy Stack’s Ahandfulofsummers completing the field.

Snowfall to face seven rivals in Irish Oaks

Snowfall will face seven rivals as she bids for a Classic double in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly ended last season with just a maiden win to her name from seven starts, but has since improved beyond all recognition.

She reappeared in the Musidora at York, making all the running and scooting clear to win by almost four lengths.

In the Oaks at Epsom she was deserted by Ryan Moore in favour of Santa Barbara – but Frankie Dettori deputised, and the result never looked in doubt.

Snowfall breezed into contention before pulling a yawning 16 lengths clear of her pursuers, and is likely to take a great deal of beating again on Saturday.

O’Brien also runs Divinely, La Joconde and Willow – and arguably his stiffest opponents also come from within his own family.

His youngest son Donnacha runs Nicest, who put up a career-best effort last time out to be third in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot. Her dam Chicquita won the Irish Oaks in 2013, and she is by American Pharoah.

Donnacha’s elder brother Joseph O’Brien is responsible for Mariesque, a lightly-raced daughter of Lawman.

Ger Lyons’ Party House, another filly with just three runs behind her, and Fozzy Stack’s Ahandfulofsummers complete the field.

Snowfall on target for Oaks double at the Curragh

Snowfall will face a maximum of eight rivals as she bids for a Classic double in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly looked very impressive when winning the Musidora at York in May, but still headed to Epsom as the apparent Ballydoyle second-string.

Ridden by Frankie Dettori in the Cazoo Oaks, the daughter of Deep Impact turned it into a procession, winning by an astonishing 16 lengths.

She is set to be a prohibitive favourite this weekend.

O’Brien has also left in High Heels, Divinely, La Jaconde and Willow, the winner of an Oaks Trial last time out – meaning he has five of the nine possibles.

His youngest son Donnacha is responsible for the ante-post second-favourite, Nicest.

She is by American Pharoah out of an Irish Oaks winner in Chicquita so is certainly bred for the job.

Last time out she finished third in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.

Joseph O’Brien has left in Mariesque.

Ger Lyons won the race last year with Even So and could run the supplemented Party House, beaten in two Listed races since winning on her debut.

Fozzy Stack’s maiden Ahandfulofsummers completes the list.