Ryan Moore steers Port Fairy to victory in the Ribblesdale
Port Fairy edges out Lava Stream at Royal Ascot

Big-race preview & tips: Juddmonte Irish Oaks


We have tips, views from connections and key video replays for the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh.


3.40 Curragh - Juddmonte Irish Oaks

PORT FAIRY (Ben Linfoot)

The Betfred Oaks form is not looking up to much at present and it’s the Ribblesdale form that could come to the fore with Port Fairy taking on Lava Stream again. Preference is for the Royal Ascot winner who should relish this course and distance given her reserves of stamina and it’s those proven reserves that might just give her the edge over stablemate Content, the choice of Ryan Moore.

Patrick Mullins Irish Oaks Preview

GALILEO DAME each-way (Matt Brocklebank)

Very few can be ruled out with confidence ahead of this year’s Juddmonte Irish Oaks and at the start of the week I was being drawn to Dermot Weld’s lightly-raced Elizabeth Jane at a huge price, but she’d probably need very deep ground to be competitive at this level. Galileo Dame is worth a second look as she’s a bit of a forgotten horse who could improve leaps and bounds for the first try at the 12-furlong trip.

Joseph O’Brien’s filly wasn’t suited to Chester in May but ran an encouraging race over an insufficient test at Gowran last time and it looks significant she’s being pitched into the Classic scene at a venue which should play more to her strengths.


Timeform Top Rated

WAR CHIMES (rated 1lb clear)

Irish Oaks Timeform ratings


Timeform Pace Map

Irish Oaks Pace Map
Irish Oaks Pace Map

Pace Forecast: Strong

Draw Bias: N/A

Specific Pace Hint: Prominent racers are usually favoured at this trip here but the pace is forecast to be strong and that might handicap PORT FAIRY while assisting LAVA STREAM.

Individual Price Hint: LAVA STREAM traded at a quarter or less of her starting Betfair SP when beaten on her most recent outing.


What the connections say

Lope De Lilas will look to break new ground for Willie Mullins in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks on Saturday.

Having carried all before him over jumps on both sides of the Irish Sea, the Closutton handler is out to secure only his second Classic victory at the Curragh after Wicklow Brave’s triumph in the Irish St Leger eight years ago under Frankie Dettori.

What would make victory all the more special for Mullins this weekend is the fact that his late father Paddy saddled the Dettori-ridden Vintage Tipple to win the Irish Oaks 21 years ago.

Mullins’ son and assistant, Patrick, said: “It would mean a huge amount to Willie if he could emulate his father in winning an Irish Oaks and it would be up there with the top of his achievements. I vividly remember Vintage Tipple winning, I was actually at a hunter trial in Stradbally and I was listening to it on the radio with my cousin, Emmet.

“James Doyle came over to ride her (Lope De Lilas) work at the Curragh on Tuesday and she worked very well and everyone was very happy. It’s a big ask but we are very happy going there, so fingers and toes crossed.”

After dominating rivals when breaking her duck at Leopardstown in May sporting the colours of the trainer’s wife Jackie, Lope De Lilas was snapped up by the Qatari-based Wathnan Racing team.

Mullins junior admits the daughter of Lope De Vega faces a huge rise in class on Saturday, but feels it is worth rolling the dice.

He added: “It is obviously a big ask coming straight out of maiden company into a Group One Classic, but that is the route we have decided to take. She’s had a fantastic preparation at home. Port Fairy is a Royal Ascot winner and she sets the standard but it is hugely exciting to be involved in a Classic.”

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Victory for Lope De Lilas would not only give Mullins a first Classic triumph, but it would also be a first for Wathnan.

Their retained rider Doyle has been astute in his preparation as he seeks to add a second Irish Oaks to his CV and connections are thrilled to be linking up with one of the dominant forces in Irish racing.

“James has been over twice, he rode her in a piece of work on Tuesday and also after racing on Irish Derby day,” said Wathnan’s European racing adviser Richard Brown.

“He has been very happy with her and so has Willie. It’s obviously a big step up making just her third start and in a Classic. I’m sure she has a bright future, but whether she is going to be streetwise or not on Saturday, we will find out.

“Willie does exceptionally well with the runners he does have on the Flat and is obviously a world-class trainer, so it is exciting to be doing this with Willie.”

One man who is no stranger to Irish Oaks success is, of course, Aidan O’Brien, who has claimed victory on a record seven occasions.

Ryan Moore steered Port Fairy to win the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, but has this weekend instead elected to ride her stablemate Content following her creditable third place finish against her elders in the Pretty Polly Stakes three weeks ago.

“Ryan loved the filly he rode in Ascot and obviously had to think about riding the other filly, but the other filly’s run in the Pretty Polly was exceptional,” said O’Brien. “We weren’t sure what was going to happen, with those Galileo fillies when they go up in trip things can happen like that sometimes.

“Ryan said she absolutely flew through the line. He said she relaxed well and he’d have been very comfortable going further with her. He was very impressed with her that day. I’d imagine he’ll ride her the same way, take his time and see what will happen.

“She has lots of class, we weren’t sure about the mile and a quarter but she got it well and it looks like she’ll get further. Port Fairy is very genuine and straightforward. She’s been in good shape since Ascot.

“She got the trip well in Ascot and she’s a lovely filly as well. We were delighted with her in Ascot and she’s come forward every week since.

“I wouldn’t think any of them would want soft ground. They are two good moving fillies. I’d imagine the better the ground it would suit both. Soft ground wouldn’t be a plus for any of them.”

British hopes are carried by David O’Meara’s Ribblesdale runner-up Lava Stream, supplemented earlier this week at a cost of €50,000, and David Menuisier’s Epsom Oaks third War Chimes.

Menuisier said: “She’s in good shape, we’ve had bags of time since her last race and she seems A1, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

“I think she got the trip well at Epsom and I think she’s better right-handed as well. It will be interesting to see how she copes with the circumstances. It looks an open race and we have as much of a chance as everybody else.”

Another filly added to the field at Tuesday’s supplementary stage was Johnny Murtagh’s Naas Oaks Trial winner Hanalia.

The Sea The Stars filly will look to play the role of super-sub for owner-breeder the Aga Khan after his Epsom Oaks heroine Ezeliya had to be retired earlier in the month after suffering a setback.

Pat Downes, manager of the Aga Khan’s Irish studs, said: “Johnny has been very pleased with Hanalia since she won the Oaks trial at Naas and unfortunately she wasn’t in the Irish Oaks, so we had a discussion about it and he was keen (to supplement her).

“He feels she has made a nice step forward from that win at Naas. We would have a question mark over the trip, but we hope that she will get it and if she does, we would expect her to run a nice race.

“We did think Ezeliya would be lining up, but unfortunately that went out the window a couple of weeks ago. That’s racing. I think it looks a competitive race, so hopefully Hanalia is in the mix there somewhere.”


Key Video Form

CONTENT - 3rd The Curragh 29 June 2024

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PORT FAIRY & LAVA STREAM - 1st & 2nd Royal Ascot 20 June 2024

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LOPE DE LILAS - 1st Leopardstown 5 May 2024

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WAR CHIMES - 3rd Epsom 31 May 2024

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