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Irish Oaks preview

It looks like a heavy track at the headquarters of flat racing in Ireland, but tomorrow's feature event at The Curragh is still a top class affair. Sam Preen, @sampreen, examines the field.

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Irish Oaks

Seven runners line up for the Irish Oaks, with outsider Colliding Worlds heading the field. With only two starts to date and a massive step up in trip, she’s more then likely to struggle here. As will Coolmore’s Devotion, who will be taking up the usual pacemaking duties for the more fancied runners.

Market favourite Great Heavens heads here with a hat trick of wins, all resulting this year. She has won on this distance as well as the testing conditions (won on Soft and Heavy) and should take all the beating here. Another runner seeking to make it four wins in a row is Princess Highway, who was last seen bolting up at the Royal meeting on her first start over 12 furlongs, she’s likely to throw down the gauntlet for Great Heavens but may struggle on the going.

Epsom Oaks second Shirocco Star has twice ran over this distance, finishing second and third respectably. She ran well in the English Oaks behind Was and again at the Royal meeting to finish third behind Princess Highway, but the testing conditions will cause her a problem.

Outsider Twirl has gone downhill after her York second behind The Fugue when taking a step up in trip. She’s wearing blinkers for the first time in this but she’s likely to make the pace along with Devotion for the English Oaks winner Was, who bids to make it a classic double. She won on the distance before as well as against most of her rivals, but the testing ground may cause a problem.

Conclusion: A tough race with only a handful of top class runners. It could pay to go against Coolmore’s runners and siding with the English runner Great Heavens who’s won in the testing conditions twice before. She heads here with a hat trick of wins and stands a serious chance of dethroning Ballydoyle. Of the rest, Was could chase her home with the benefit of pacemakers.

Read more of Sam's work on his excellent blog.

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