Shock Investec Epsom Oaks heroine Dancing Rain will bid to follow up in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh in the Group 1 Darley Irish Oaks on July 17 after which she may take her chance a month later in the Yorkshire Oaks at York’s high quality Ebor fixture in mid-August, writes Elliot Slater.
The William Haggas-trained filly put up a fine performance under a brilliant ride from Johnny Murtagh to lead all the way at Epsom, dictating the pace before quickening at Tattenham Corner then digging deep to fend off the attentions of Aidan O’Brien’s smart Wonder of Wonders, who despite all of Keiren Fallon’s strength in the saddle failed to catch the 20/1 winner by three quarters of a length. Those following the York Ebor betting won’t be able to rule her out.
The Newmarket-based handler reports the daughter of Danehill Dancer to be in tremendous shape and she will definitely go to Ireland to bid to follow in the footsteps of the last two Epsom Oaks winners Sariska and Snow Fairy, both of who went on to complete a famous double when winning at the Curragh a month later.
The Epsom Oaks form has already worked out well with fifth placed Misty For Me going on to land the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes last month and the sixth horse home Beatrice Aurore won the Group 3 Prix Chloe at Chantilly on her next outing.
Bookmakers seem to have taken the opinion that the Curragh will suit Wonder of Wonders much better than Epsom and she is currently a warm favourite to gain her revenge on Dancing Rain, being offered at a best priced 13/8. Her stable companion Misty For Me is a 3/1 shot, the 1000 Guineas winner Blue Bunting, who lost third on the line in the Oaks when Frankie Dettori dropped his hands, is offered at 9/2 along with Dancing Rain. Fans of Betfair York Ebor 2011 will be keeping a close eye on the horses.
Whatever the outcome in Ireland it is quite possible that many of the main protagonists will meet again at York on August 18 in the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks.