O’Brien trainer of Was, Twirl & Devotion

The Darley Irish Oaks presents us with the race of the season so far for middle distance three year old fillies. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has farmed the classics this season and comes to the Curragh with the Epsom Oaks winner Was and two other fillies Twirl and Devotion.  Punters would normally expect an Epsom winner to start as favourite but this afternoon O’Brien faces tough opposition from the in form  John Gosden yard with Great Heavens and his fellow countryman Dermot Weld with Princess Highway.  The ground at the course is still heavy/soft and will make this a test of stamina and determination. Crockford casts his eye over the seven strong field and will provide you with what he feels is a true Dead Cert for this afternoon at the Curragh.

Colliding Worlds
Comfortably won a Leopardstown maiden earlier this month and the owners were keen for her to take her chance at this level. However, as the trainer Edward Lynam commented to the Racing Post this was a gamble that they wanted to take and “its a big ask”. Crockford agrees and feels that this will be out of her league.

Looks like the pace horse for Was with her last run in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot. Deserves the long odds at 100/1.

Great Heavens
Gosden and Buick narrowly missed out on landing the big prize yesterday and may do so again today. The Lancashire Oaks winner was impressive in beating her rivals, but that form does not match that of others in the field. As Buick commented to ATR “she is stepping up to another league” where he will have to play an emphasis on stamina to have a chance of beating her rivals. 7/4 is far too short for that gamble.

Princess Highway
Brilliant winner of the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot and successful in the Blue Wind. This strong traveller will be fresher than many of her rivals. As Buick told ATR “Princess Highway looks very good – she will take all the beating”. Pat Mullen her pilot concurred and felt that she was the best three year old filly around and said that he would not “swap  mine for any”. With those recommendations Crockford had to make this his Dead Cert.

Shirocco Star
Game in defeat in the Oaks and at Royal Ascot, Hughie Morrisson has chosen to use the local knowledge of Johnny Murtagh to guide his filly home. She has strong each way claims and looks attractive at 9/1.

Beaten in form lines and performances against others in the field. One of her best performances was at York in the Musidora against The Fugue. Crockford believes that she may lack the stamina for such a contest and will finish down the field.

Beautifully bred and previously well touted, this Epsom Oaks winner was given an excellent ride to seal the Classic. Her faults will probably be exposed this afternoon by the progressive fillies in the field – one of which has already soundly beaten her at Naas in the Blue Wind. 7/2 could look big though for an favoured O’Brien horse in a classic.

Crockford’s prediction of how they will finish:

1 Princess Highway (Crockford’s Dead Cert)
2 Shirocco Star
3 Was

(Photograph – Aidan O’Brien by monkeywing – creative commons)