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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

Chicquita was first past the post in the Darley Irish Oaks

Last Updated: 20/07/13 7:08pm

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Chicquita (r): Won despite drifting to her left

Chicquita (r): Won despite drifting to her left

French raider Chicquita (9/2) won a thrilling renewal of the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh despite an alarming drift to her left in the closing stages.

The Ribblesdale Stakes one-two, Just Pretending and the very well backed Riposte, cut out much of the running in the Classic but the field - missing Alive Alive Oh - were still tightly grouped as they approached the turn for home.

Epsom winner Talent was asked to improve her position at that stage but Jim Crowley yet to get quite serious with the English Oaks winner as she attempted to make ground on the outside and she eventually trailed home in a well beaten last.

At the head of affairs, Just Pretending and Riposte continued to engage in a ding-dong battle for the lead but the unbeaten Venus De Milo and Chicquita soon joined issue as well.

Chicquita initially challenged on the outside of Riposte under Johnny Murtagh but the Prix de Diane runner-up nearly threw the race away by hanging markedly to her left in the closing stages, across the runner-up Venus De Milo, but had sufficient forward momentum to prevail by half a length.

A stewards' inquiry was called after the half-length success but the placings remained unaltered.

Royer-Dupre said: "It is quite different to my last winner of this race, Shawanda, because she was unbeaten and this one, she had never won before. She is a great filly and I wanted to try another Group One rather than to go into an easier race.

"Her temperament is very interesting because she is very quiet in training, she never does anything wrong and in the afternoon sometimes she goes to the left and she wants to come back too early, she is quite tricky to ride in a race.

"Johnny Murtagh did well as she is not easy to ride. He got her relaxed and I told him when he asked her, to do it gently and not to surprise her. The Curragh is a marvellous track, one of the best in Europe and if you have a good horses to come here, you are sure to show something.

"She's a great filly, she is the best filly I have in my yard. That's why I decided after she fell back in Saint-Cloud to go straight away to the Prix de Diane because I know she has talent.

"I'll never know why she flew into the hedge at Saint-Cloud that day, I think she wanted to come home too early. She will probably go now for the Prix Vermeille and then maybe the Arc. I think she is good on any ground."

Murtagh said: "It was pretty straightforward really. She has drifted out but she is difficult. She's done it before. When she drifted out, I let her go because I didn't want to be carrying anything wide. Seamie (Heffernan, on Venus De Milo) was coming behind me but he never stopped riding.

"The best filly won on the day. If she didn't drift, she'd have won easily. The stewards' inquiry went on for a while, but it was never in doubt. I was switching my whip and changing my hands, just trying to kid her along. I gave her one little flick and and when I did she went left.

"At the line she really went left, she nearly threw it away, but she won well. She's a very, very high-class filly, with loads of ability. She has lots going on in her mind but if Alain de Royer-Dupre can channel that energy in the right way, she's a seriously good filly."

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