Magical Lagoon (nearby): to follow up on the success of Royal Ascot on Saturday at the Curragh

Jessica Harrington and Aidan O’Brien on their Irish Oaks contenders | Horse racing news

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Magical Lagoon (nearby): to follow up on the success of Royal Ascot on Saturday at the Curragh

Alex Livesey (Getty Images)

By Mark Boylan

Saturday: 3.45 Curragh
Juddmonte Irish Oaks (Group 1) | 1m4f | 3yo girl | ITV/RTE1/RTV

John and Thady Gosden’s misfortune could be Jessica Harrington’s win as she seeks to add a first success at the Irish Oaks to her glittering resume with Royal Ascot star Magical Lagoon.

News of hot favorite Emily Upjohn’s absence from the Curragh Classic due to transport difficulties has inflated the competition, with the Ribblesdale Stakes winner now being looked upon by strata as the one to beat.

Harrington has all but sacked that award in recent years. Jack Naylor found only Covert Love too good in 2015, while Cayenne Pepper also finished second to Even So in 2020.

Skipping the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom for a tilt at the Ribblesdale proved an inspired move from the Commonstown team, who have been in superb form over the past few weeks.

“We absolutely loved her at Ascot,” said Harrington.

“She proved to be a good filly last year when she won a Group 3 at Curragh but she didn’t do very well with Newmarket when we ran her at the Fillies’ Mile.”

Harrington added: “We weren’t sure she had come down the hill at Epsom so we made the decision to go straight to Ribblesdale – luckily it paid off.”

There’s no doubting Magical Lagoon’s staying power. She is quite a stocky daughter of Galileo, who won the voyage last time.

“She’s stopping every meter of a mile and a half and last time she was very brave they went for a good canter,” said Harrington. “She’s drawn the furthest, but there are only seven runners, so I don’t mind. She likes a little space around her.”

Alex Livesey (Getty Images)

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Jessica Harrington on Magical Lagoon:

Jessica Harrington on Magical Lagoon: “It’s the furthest drawn, but there are only seven runners, so I don’t mind”

Alex Livesey (Getty Images)

The trainer, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Irish Grand National, also saddles outsider Fennela, who won a girl at the venue last month.

Harrington said: “She has only won one girl but is the most beautifully bred filly as she is from Green Room. This makes her a half sister to Group 1 winners Lord Shanakill, Forever Together and Together Forever.

“She is a very genuine and tough filly that needs this journey. It would be fantastic if she got a place.”

The best is yet to come from Toys

Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien were untouchable in that spectacular snowfall 12 months ago, but the pair don’t have such obvious claims this time.

Toy, bred purple and a sister to seven winners, is expected to be one of the underdogs in the field after failing to land a shot at the Poules d’Essai des Pouliches and the Prix de Diane.

However, O’Brien is optimistic there is more to come from the runaway Cork maiden winner.

“Toy has never run a mile and a half, that’s going to be interesting,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been very happy with her lately. We don’t think you’ve seen her best on the track yet.”

O’Brien has three runners trying to win the race for the seventh time. Alongside Sir Michael Stoute, he is the most successful coach in the race with six wins.

O’Brien said of his other contestants: “Emily Dickinson is doing a good mile and a half and going a little further. She came home very well at Leopardstown last time. We were very happy with her there.

“The story had a nice race at Ribblesdale and we still think it’s making progress.”

Twomey hopes the big underdog can show improvement

Completing the field are back-to-back Listed winners Cairde Go Deo, coached by Ger Lyons, and Longshot Show Of Stars at 98, replacing Paddy Twomey.

“Show Of Stars comes from a pretty enduring female family and I think she’s strengthened herself nicely over the summer,” Twomey said.

“She’s refreshed since her last run and I’m looking forward to taking her to a mile and a half. Hopefully her physical progress will help her run a nice race.”

Read more from Saturday’s previews:

1.50 Newbury: Cadillac could be in the driver’s seat, now De Foy has to work on him

2.35 Curragh: “She’s got a perfect draw and is in serious order” – who likes her fuzzy hope?

2.56 Newbury: Happy again? Set out to win consecutive runs of Group 3 Hackwood Stakes

3.10 Curragh: Mooneista ‘better than last year’ as she bids for Sapphire follow-up

3.14 Market Rasen: “I can’t separate them” – Bowen saddles two as he targets an eighth summer plate

3.30am Newbury: “She’s an exciting prospect” – Quotes and Analysis from Supersprint Coaches

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