Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 7 December 2019

Karl Burke looks to the skies for Odeliz at Curragh

Odeliz, right, was a fine second to Thistle Bird at Epsom in June. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE
Odeliz, right, was a fine second to Thistle Bird at Epsom in June. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

Richard Forristal

Middleham handler Karl Burke is anxious for the prevailing fast ground at the Curragh to ease if he is to allow Odeliz form part of a potentially potent cross-channel contingent expected to descend on headquarters this weekend.

Burke's four-year-old daughter of Falco was a fine second to Thistle Bird at Epsom in June, form that was franked when the Nassau Stakes-bound winner and the third, Just The Judge, filled the same berths in the Curragh's Group One Pretty Polly Stakes. Odeliz is entered in Sunday's Kilboy Estate Stakes, a nine-furlong Group Two that went the way of Michael Stoute's Dank in 2013.

Stoute has Mango Diva engaged in the €100,000 contest this time and Roger Varian has entered Princess Loulou, but Burke is keen to see the good to firm ground eased by tonight's forecast rain for his filly. "We want to run, but we could do with some rain," he said.

"Ideally, we wouldn't want any firm in the going description. Odeliz is in great form. She's come on again from Epsom. The form of that race has worked out really well."

John Oxx's classy three-year-old My Titania is expected to try to build on her reappearance fourth in Royal Ascot's Coronation Stakes in the same race, while Euphrasia would be another fascinating runner. The star of Joe Murphy's Fethard yard, Euphrasia was last seen ruffling the feathers of some high-class colts when a gallant third to Noble Mission and Magician in the Tattersalls Gold Cup.

Saturday's showpiece Darley Irish Oaks has gone for export every year since 2009 and the raiders have four contenders this time, including John Gosden's facile Epsom heroine Taghrooda. The Dermot Weld-trained Epsom runner-up Tarfasha, likewise owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, is the most serious threat on paper to a favourite that has been heavily backed despite her odds-on status.

Pat Smullen got a fair idea at Epsom of what will be required to turn the tables and admits that, should they both line out, it won't be an easy task.

"The race went perfectly for me at Epsom," Smullen conceded. "The winner was just extremely good on the day. Our filly will be happier at the Curragh and I expect her to improve for Epsom, but whether she's improved enough to beat the winner, who knows?"

The Godolphin blue silks, carried to Oaks glory by Blue Bunting in 2011, will be on show on Saturday's card after Mick Halford confirmed that his Royal Ascot runner-up Toscanini will bid to break its duck at the fourth time of asking in the Group Three Anglesey Stakes.

The blue silks will also soon become more prominent in Australia after it was revealed yesterday that Sheikh Mohammed's flagship racing operation is to expand its presence Down Under by establishing a "permanent" base with Randwick trainer John O'Shea.

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