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Curragh

  • 18:15 Darley Irish Oaks 1m 4f

  • (Fillies' Group 1) €400,000 added 3yo 7 ran
  • Winner €232,000 2nd €76,000 3rd €36,000 4th €12,000
  • Going: Good to Firm
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 2m 35.01s
  • Off time: 18:15:44
  • Stewards Inquiry - Result Stands

Talent on song as she aims to complete English/Irish Oaks double

Last Updated: 19/07/13 5:03pm

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Talent: aiming for Oaks double

Talent: aiming for Oaks double

Trainer Ralph Beckett is confident Epsom heroine Talent is in the best possible shape as she aims to complete the English-Irish Oaks double at the Curragh on Saturday evening.

Despite victory in Newmarket's Pretty Polly Stakes on her seasonal reappearance, the daughter of New Approach was a 20-1 outsider for the Investec Oaks at the end of May, with stable companion Secret Gesture Beckett's major hope of winning the Epsom Classic for the second time following the triumph of Look Here in 2008.

But while Secret Gesture ran an excellent race to fill the runner-up spot, she was unable to repel the charge of Talent, who flew down the outside of the field in the straight to strike by almost four lengths under Richard Hughes.

Much of the post-race discussion was dominated by how Hughes had ridden Talent in a piece of work just days earlier and had been most unimpressed, but Beckett is thrilled with his filly's condition ahead of the Darley-sponsored Irish equivalent.

Stable jockey Jim Crowley is back on board as the three-year-old aims to become the first dual Oaks winner since Snow Fairy three years ago.

Beckett said: "I'm very happy with where we are with the filly and we're looking forward to running.

"When Richard came to ride her work before Epsom he was riding on a strip of ground he'd never ridden on before and they were working with a filly who was at the top of her game.

"Richard obviously read something into it and there was a lot made of it after the Oaks as it was obviously a good story.

"I'm very happy with the filly, she looks great and has done well since Epsom, so we have to go there hopeful."

Beckett acknowledges Talent faces no easy task, and particularly respects Alain de Royer-Dupre's French raider Chicquita.

"I think the market perhaps slightly underestimates the French filly. Her form looks very good and although she's never been this far, she looks a likely stayer," said the Kimpton handler.

"Then there is Tommy Stack's filly (Alive Alive Oh) and Aidan O'Brien's fillies (Just Pretending, Magical Dream and Venus De Milo) so there are plenty in there with a chance."

Talent appeared particularly effective by being produced late off a strong gallop at Epsom.

Beckett is unsure how Saturday's race will pan out tactically, but is not overly concerned.

He said: "Hopefully there will be plenty of pace, but then they may decide to go slow to catch us out.

"They went no gallop in the Pretty Polly at Newmarket, she pulled hard and still won, so they can do what they like.

"Hopefully the best filly will win on the day and we obviously hope it's us."Talent's main market rival is Lady Cecil's Riposte, who brought the house down at Royal Ascot with a poignant victory in the Ribblesdale Stakes just days after the death of legendary trainer Sir Henry Cecil.

Lady Cecil told www.sirhenrycecil.com: "We were thrilled with Riposte's victory in the Ribblesdale Stakes. Henry always had lot of belief in the filly's potential and she justified that at Ascot.

"She took that race well and her preparations ahead of the Irish Oaks have gone smoothly.

"We have been pleased with her recent work and, while this is another step up, we are hopeful that she can take it in her stride. She travelled well to Ireland and arrived safely this morning (Friday)."

Stable jockey Tom Queally is similarly confident about Riposte's chances.

He told At The Races: "She's come out of the race very well and her work's been fairly good.

"The Ribblesdale was not a bad race. She copes with the quick ground and I don't think the event will faze her too much.

"She's improving all the while and we are looking forward to it.

"Hopefully she's got a big chance."


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