Sunday 23 July 2017

Rain ready for Oaks double bid

Thomas Kelly

EPSOM Oaks heroine Dancing Rain and Godolphin's Rumh have both been supplemented for Sunday's Darley Irish Oaks at The Curragh.

The former, trained by William Haggas, bids to become the third successive filly after Sariska and Snow Fairy to complete the Oaks double.

The Saeed bin Suroor-trained Rumh disappointed in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot after winning in style at Newbury. Owners Godolphin also have Epsom fourth Blue Bunting, the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained filly which won the English 1,000 Guineas.

Aidan O'Brien has won this race three times and the Ballydoyle supremo has six possibles among the 14 fillies at the confirmation stage.

They are headed by the favourite, Wonder Of Wonders, which was only three-quarters of a length behind Dancing Rain at Epsom, and the fifth that day, Misty For Me.

The latter won the Irish 1,000 Guineas earlier in the season and then slammed Midday by six lengths in the Pretty Polly Stakes. Amazing Beauty, Gemstone, Make My Heart Sing and Why make up the O'Brien sextet.

Jim Bolger is represented by Ribblesdale winner Banimpire and Hurricane Havoc, while David Wachman's Chrysanthemum, Jessica Harrington's Laughing Lashes and Mick Channon's Zain Al Boldan complete the field.

O'Brien goes to Longchamp tomorrow with a three-pronged attack on the Grand Prix de Paris in a bid to lower the colours of French Derby hero Reliable Man. Treasure Beach and Seville -- first and second in the Irish Derby at The Curragh -- fly the Ballydoyle flag along with Marksmanship in the Group One contest over a mile and a half.

There's little doubt the O'Brien camp will try to exploit any stamina chinks in Reliable Man as the unbeaten colt has never won over 12 furlongs -- the Prix du Jockey Club which he won at Chantilly is run over an extended mile and a quarter. Colm O'Donoghue keeps the ride on Treasure Beach, with Ryan Moore on Marksmanship and Seamie Heffernan on Seville.

Andre Fabre has won the big 'Bastille Day' feature a staggering 10 times and is double-handed with Kreem and Meandre. Bubble Chic, second to Reliable Man in the Jockey Club and runner-up to subsequent Epsom Derby hero Pour Moi before that, completes the line-up.

Fabre has confirmed the Prix Niel at Longchamp as the next competitive racecourse appearance for Pour Moi.

The master French trainer finally broke his duck in the Epsom Classic as the Mickael Barzalona-ridden three-year-old flew from the rear to deny Treasure Beach by a head, and the form could hardly be working out better.

As well as the runner-up claiming Irish Derby glory, the well-beaten pair of Masked Marvel and Pisco Sour have been successful in Group company since.

Fabre has an excellent record in September's Prix Niel and hopes Pour Moi can add to the tally before going on to become his ninth Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe hero a few weeks later: "The Prix Niel will be his next race and the Arc is his target."

Irish Independent

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