We’re not going to lie, unfortunately the Irish Oaks, like the Irish Derby before it, looks like paying the price for squeezing all of this year’s big summer races into a shorter time frame.
Among the notable absentees is Love who has opted for the Yorkshire Oaks instead. She is joined on the no show list by Fancy Blue who will instead be turning out in the Nassau Stakes in Goodwood where she could well meet the likes of Peaceful and Alpine Star also.
Here at The Curragh though, Ennistymon leads a four-strong challenge for the champion trainer Aidan O’Brien with Snow, Laburnum and Passion also among this entries.
Some might think that Ennistymon, who came in second behind Love at Epsom, might well have the race to herself given her rival’s absence but that would be to ignore or dismiss the claims of Cayenne Pepper, neither of which would be a wise thing to do.
Jessica Harrington’s three year old filly Cayenne Pepper does indeed look to have a superb chance.
Having landed a hat-trick of wins at the outset of her career, she refused to struggle or look out of place when moving up to Group One company for the first time, coming home fourth in the Fillies Mile at Newmarket.
Since then, Cayenne Pepper has made a very good return to racing this year, claiming a second behind Magical in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes which we think could well set her up for success at The Curragh here.
Elsewhere, a case can certainly be made for the claims of Laburnum. Aidan O’Brien’s filly is only a month in from her debut where she lost to Even So at Naas.
The quality of her loss though hinted at much, much more to come and she looked all over the winner for most of the straight that day and were it not for inexperience where she lugged in a couple of times, it might have been more.
The aforementioned Even So should also feature, as will Yaxeni, with Joseph O’Brien’s New York Girl, Munster Oaks winner Snow and Epsom fifth-placer Passionalso also competing in the still very strong field.