Saturday 17 March 2018

Kissed heads O'Brien hopes in French Oaks

Aidan O'Brien (R) chats with Joseph O'Brien at York racecourse. Photo: Getty Images
Aidan O'Brien (R) chats with Joseph O'Brien at York racecourse. Photo: Getty Images

AIDAN O'Brien is on another Group One mission this Sunday with four entries for the French Oaks at Chantilly, including Kissed, a late withdrawal from the Epsom Oaks due to the firm ground.

The Ballydoyle trainer has also left in Twirl, who was only 11th at Epsom, plus French 1,000 Guineas second Up, as well as Wonderful, at the latest forfeit stage.

Another Irish-trained possible is Dermot Weld's Princess Highway, although the winner of the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas -- when she had Oaks winner Was back in third -- has an alternative entry in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Mick Channon-trained Samitar, winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, and David Simcock's Palmyra are the two English-trained entries left in, while the home contingent is led by Beauty Parlour, winner of the French 1,000 Guineas.

Elsewhere, O'Brien's Fame and Glory was last night cut (from 13/8 to 6/4) to retain his Ascot Gold Cup crown after jockey Jamie Spencer expressed optimism about his chances. Fame And Glory won both of his starts at Ascot last season and made a winning comeback under jockey Joseph O'Brien at Navan last month.

"Joseph said he was a bit fresh and keen at Navan, but he showed plenty of life," Spencer said. "It was his first start of the year and he improved from his runs last year when he got to Ascot. I'm sure Aidan will have him in top-top shape.

In the wake of Roscommon's card being abandoned due to heavy rain last night, additional races have been added to cards at Cork and Wexford over the coming days.

Horse Racing Ireland have offered an extra race at Cork on Sunday with the Kerry Group Raceday Handicap over 12 furlongs added to the fixture. Wexford on June 20 will also have an additional event in the New Ross 4-y-o Maiden Hurdle over two miles.

Irish Independent

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