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Sea Of Class amongst British raiders entered into Irish Oaks

Jonathan Vine 4 Jul 2018
James Doyle riding Sea Of Class (right) win The Haras de Bouquetot Fillies' Trial Stakes at Newbury.

William Haggas confirmed this week that Sea Of Class will be one of several British entrants targeting a victory in the Darley Irish Oaks.

While success in the Irish version of the Derby has been hard to come by for the Brits, trainers from this side of the Irish Sea have dealt their Irish counterparts a blow or two in the Oaks over the past decade. Victories for the likes of John Gosden, Ed Dunlop and Michael Bell mean, in the past decade, British and Irish trainers have claimed five victories apiece in the second fillies' Classic on the Irish calendar.

A gaggle of British raiders currently feature in the ante-post entries for the Oaks, which takes place at the Curragh in two weeks’ time. One of the most eye-catching English entrants being William Haggas’ Sea Of Class.

The daughter of Sea The Stars was sitting prominently in the betting for the Epsom Oaks during the build-up, but Haggas and the horse’s connections decided to swerve that Classic as they felt it was a little too early to step their filly up to 12 furlongs. Instead, she travelled to Newbury to score her second Listed victory of the year and Haggas feels the timing is now right to give his filly a crack at a Classic.

"The Irish Oaks is the plan.” Haggas told the Irish Field on Tuesday. "She would have gone to the Pretty Polly last Sunday and the Nassau at Goodwood if we were going to go down the mile-and-a-quarter route, but we decided to go for the Irish Oaks.

"It was a decision mutually agreed by the owner and trainer, and it wasn't a difficult one as it happened. She can't run in the Irish Oaks next year, but she can run in the Pretty Polly and Nassau next year if she stays in training.”

"She took the race at Newbury fine and is in good form. I didn't think she was as impressive as she was in the previous race there, but we had a little blip before that race so I was happy enough with her."

Two-time Irish Oaks winning trainer, John Gosden has Lah Ti Dar entered into this Classic, having missed the Epsom Oaks and an outing at Royal Ascot through injury. Epsom runner-up Wild Illusion, Ribblesdale third Sun Maiden and French Oaks winner, Laurens also feature in the British raiding party for the Irish Oaks, with Perfect Clarity also pencilled in to make the trip.

Leading the home challenge will be Forever Together, who powered to victory in the Epsom Oaks to break her maiden tag in stunning fashion. Aidan O’Brien’s Classic winner was beaten in the Pretty Polly Stakes during the Irish Derby meeting, but she performed well to claim second behind Urban Fox and will relish a return to a mile-and-a-half.

Runaway Irish Guineas and Coronation Stakes winner, Alpha Centauri was handed an astronomical rating of 122 after smashing the one mile course record at Royal Ascot. Clemmie was left trailing in her rival’s wake in both races and, while Clemmie and Alpha Centauri are entered into the Irish Oaks, it’s unlikely either will step up to this extended trip.

Happily looks set to tackle the colts in the Coral-Eclipse this Saturday - for which she is currently a 9/2 shot with race sponsors Coral - but could still be part of Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Oaks squad at the end of the month. Ribblesdale queen Magic Wand, along with stablemates September and Magical could also be part of the Ballydoyle team, as Aidan O’Brien attempts to jump alongside Sir Michael Stoute as the joint winning-most trainer in Irish Oaks history.

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Sea Of Class amongst British raiders entered into Irish Oaks

William Haggas confirmed this week that Sea Of Class will be one of several British entrants targeting a victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Saturday 21st July.

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