The Irish Oaks features a rematch between Tarfasha, Volume and Marvellous, who were second, third and ninth in the Epsom equivalent six weeks ago (5.45pm, Curragh, Saturday).
However, none of them has won over a mile and a half, or on the prevailing good to firm going, so they may not have things entirely their own way.
Tarfasha (5/2) has won two of her five starts, on yielding to soft and soft going, but ran well enough on good to firm going, on her racecourse debut at Leopardstown last July, to suggest that she won’t be inconvenienced by faster underfoot conditions. She kept on well to beat Volume (5/1) by a nose for second place at Epsom, but it’s worth noting that Luca Cumani’s charge became unbalanced with a furlong to run, so she may be hard pressed to confirm the form.
Marvellous (5/1) started favourite at Epsom on the strength of her 3-length defeat of Lightning Thunder in the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh in May, but could only finish a well-beaten sixth.
She remains the highest rated filly in the race, by 5lb, according to the BHA. Even allowing for the fact that the Oaks may have come too soon for her, backing her requires a leap of faith. Aidan O’Brien (pictured) reaches for first-time blinkers, which does little to bolster confidence.
O’Brien makes life difficult for punters by saddling five runners, but the only distance winner in the field, Bracelet (13/2), could represent his best chance of winning the Irish Oaks for a fourth time. The daughter of Montjeu failed to cut much ice in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May, but stayed on gamely to win the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last month. She was only half a length ahead of Lustrous (14/1) at the line, but always looked in control and, as the only filly in the race with winning form over a mile and half on fast ground, looks the one to be on.
None of the others make much appeal, although Vote Often (16/1) could improve significantly now that she steps up to middle distances for the first time. The daughter of Beat Hollow has 7¼ lengths to find with Marvellous on their running in the Irish 1,000 Guineas but, being out of a Generous mare, her pedigree is laden with stamina.
Fast ground is a complete unknown but, all in all, she’s done well to win over 7 furlongs and a mile and, if she does act on the ground, may be capable of surprising some better fancied rivals. Veteran Irish trainer Dermot Weld has won the Irish Oaks twice in the past, so clearly knows what’s required.
It’s possible to make a case for a few of these, but Bracelet looks far and away the best value at the odds on offer. Our betting tips advice is to back BRACELET each-way at 15/2 with BetVictor. A small each-way saver on Vote Often at 16/1 with Bet365 might also be a shrewd move.