Saturday 17 February 2018

Aidan O'Brien has Even Song at concert pitch for Irish Oaks at Curragh

Even Song (left)
Even Song (left)

Royal Ascot heroine Even Song is all the rage to provide Aidan O'Brien with a fifth victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Epsom heroine Alexandrova provided the Ballydoyle maestro with his first triumph in the mile-and-a-half Classic a decade ago and he went on to win the next two renewals with Peeping Fawn and Moonstone.

Like O'Brien's most recent victor Bracelet (2014), Even Song is bidding to follow up success in the Ribblesdale Stakes and the trainer has been pleased with how his charge has recovered from those exertions a month ago.

He said: "She's in good form. She had a little rest after Ascot and we've been happy with her since.

"She seems to handle most types of ground and we are looking forward to running her."

Even Song is the chief hope among four runners for O'Brien, with Munster Oaks winner Pretty Perfect and Epsom Oaks fourth and sixth Somehow and Seventh Heaven also in contention.

O'Brien added: "I've been very happy with Somehow since Epsom and we just felt that she didn't act around Epsom and we think the Curragh will suit her better.

"She raced a little bit idle in the Oaks, so we're putting a pair of cheekpieces on her.

"We thought Seventh Heaven might not have handled Lingfield and then thought she didn't handle Epsom. Seamus (Heffernan, jockey) thinks the Curragh will suit her better.

"When Pretty Perfect stepped back up to a mile and a half last time she loved it and it seemed to bring out the best in her."

Ajman Princess has finished second on each of her four starts to date for Roger Varian, most recently in the Ribblesdale.

Varian said: "We've always liked this filly and although she's still a maiden, her form is very strong.

"She split Listed winners (Abingdon and Skiffle) on her second run at Ascot and her second in the Ribblesdale showed that she's a high-level performer.

"Take Even Song out and it has a very open look to it. We thought we'd be best lining up with every chance of finishing in the first three. I think she's improving - a lot of three-year-old fillies are at this time of year. "

Mick Channon's Harlequeen arrives fresh, having been off the track since finishing third at Epsom.

"We're hoping the Curragh will suit her better than Epsom," said the trainer.

"She did nothing wrong there, in truth, and we were pleased with her run. She's certainly come on for the experience - what you must remember is that she's only had four runs in her life. "

Jim Bolger is represented by Turret Rocks and An Cailin Orga.

The former was last seen finishing seventh to Minding at Epsom, and Bolger said: "She's very well. Hopefully the ground will be good on Saturday."

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