The sheer number of intriguing plotlines running through the 2016 Irish Oaks makes the Curragh contest a must-watch for both discerning racing fans and casual punters alike this weekend.
In fact, it’s difficult to know where to begin.
Ultimately, it’s far too lazy to simply map the race out as a case of another short-priced favourite from Ballydoyle aiming to add to the vast number of trinkets that already litter the yard.
While it’s true that Even Song is the market fancy, there’s plenty more to paw over ahead of this latest Irish Oaks renewal…
It’s another family affair for the O’Briens’
Aidan O’Brien will saddle no fewer than four in the upcoming Classic with his leading lady undoubtedly the Ribblesdale Stakes winner, Even Song.
The odds-on jolly is bidding to follow in the footsteps of O’Brien’s 2014 victor Bracelet and complete a memorable Ribblesdale-Irish Oaks double.
Her impressive turn of foot in the final furlong at Royal Ascot will be difficult to match if she can repeat the trick.
That said, AOB has Pretty Perfect, Seventh Heaven and Epsom Oaks fourth Somehow as respectable back-up with the latter to be ridden by Donnacha O’Brien.
However, let’s not forget about the other O’Brien set to carry the family name at the Curragh.
Emerging trainer Joseph has declared his first Classic runner in Way to my Heart amongst the 12-strong field.
She’s yet to get off the mark in seven appearances. But despite her relatively lowly status compared to the rest, her entry signals another exciting chapter in the family dynasty.
Palmer plotting more success
Hugo Palmer halted Aidan O’Brien’s bid for a fifth renewal victory with Covert Love last year and the Newmarket handler could well do so again in this latest edition.
He’s heading to Ireland double-handed with Architecture and We Are Ninety with the former making most appeal.
She was well beaten by the jolly last time out but can be forgiven that performance given her exertions a fortnight before at Epsom.
Second behind Minding in the Oaks, Architecture is rated 3lb higher than the market leader and that piece of form in Surrey suggests she’s more than capable of striking a blow following a more extended rest period.
Our man Frankie Dettori will onboard Palmer’s leading hopeful, a jockey no stranger to success across the Irish Sea.
The three-time Irish Oaks winner has already enjoyed notable big race successes this season and it’d be no surprise to us if Frankie got the done once again.
Elsewhere on a quality card, a cracking Sapphire Stakes (16:05) features a number of familiar sprint stars, including home favourite Sole Power.
Meanwhile, make a note of some of next season’s big names when the juveniles contest the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes (16:40).
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.