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Love is not around but O'Brien still dominates Oaks


Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

Aidan O’Brien. Photo: Sportsfile

An English and Irish Oaks double attempt is not on the cards for Love, which is set to wait for next month's Yorkshire equivalent. However, Aidan O'Brien is still responsible for half of the field in Saturday's Irish fillies' Classic at the Curragh.

Love - an outstanding winner at Epsom after earlier landing the English 1,000 Guineas - heads to York before a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October, for which she is vying for favouritism with Enable.

Love will not be all around the Kildare track this weekend but O'Brien still holds a host of aces with Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Peaceful leading a formidable Ballydoyle sextet.

Peaceful was a close third to Donnacha O'Brien's Fancy Blue in the French Oaks at Chantilly earlier this month and the pair could renew rivalries as the younger O'Brien bids for his second Classic success in as many weeks.

Epsom Oaks runner-up Ennistymon also bids go one better this weekend for the elder O'Brien while Cayenne Pepper could add further spice to the €250,000 Group One, with Jessica Harrington expecting further improvement from her recent second to Magical in the Pretty Polly Stakes.

"I only thought she was 80 per cent fit. I couldn't believe how well she travelled - I thought a furlong and a half down the other horses behind her would swallow her up.

"They didn't at all and she got her second wind and ran on strongly to the line. Since the race, all things being equal, she has been very good. We've always thought this year that she was going to be a mile-and-a-half filly," Harrington said.

Overseas runners have dominated recent affairs with nine of the last 11 winners, but all 12 possible runners are home-based this time around with Ger Lyons responsible for a trio in the shape of Lemista, Even So and Yaxeni.

Irish Independent