Cayenne Pepper and Ennistymon are two of eight fillies declared for the Juddmonte Irish Oaks on Saturday. They are 2/1 joint favourites with some firms.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper ran an excellent race in defeat behind the top-class older mare Magical in the Pretty Polly Stakes three weeks ago. The daughter of Australia will step up to a mile and a half for the first time this weekend in the hands of Shane Foley.
Aidan O’Brien has whittled his team down to four as he goes in search of a sixth Irish Oaks success.
Ennistymon brings the strongest form to the table of the quartet, having chased home her esteemed stablemate Love in the Oaks at Epsom on her latest appearance. She is joined by stable companions Snow – winner of the Munster Oaks – Laburnum and Passion.
Ger Lyons is represented by Even So, who narrowly beat Laburnum in the Naas Oaks Trial a fortnight ago, as well as Yaxeni.
The field is completed by New York Girl from Joseph O’Brien’s yard.
The first of three Group 2s on the card is the Comer Group International Curragh Cup.
Twilight Payment won last year’s renewal for Jim Bolger and is back to defend his crown, now in the care of Joseph O’Brien. The Owning Hill handler has a second string to his bow in Master Of Reality.
Aidan O’Brien relies on Memorabilis, with Harrington’s Camphor and the Luke Comer-trained pair of Cypress Creek and Giuseppe Garibaldi the other hopefuls.
O’Brien senior has declared Lancaster House, Love Lockets and Precious Moments for the Paddy Power Minstrel Stakes over seven furlongs.
The star attraction, however, is Ken Condon’s stable star Romanised, who makes his first competitive appearance since being touched off by Circus Maximus in the Prix du Moulin last September.
Buffer Zone (Lyons), Gustavus Weston (Joe Murphy) and Surrounding (Mick Halford) also feature.
Group 2 honours are also up for grabs in the Gain Railway Stakes, a race Aidan O’Brien has claimed on 13 occasions.
This year’s Ballydoyle representatives are Navan scorer Forest Of Dreams and course and distance winner Merchants Quay.
Arctician (Paddy Twomey), Eastern Voice (Bolger), Laws Of Indices (Condon), Lucky Vega (Harrington) and To Glory (Lyons) take them on.
IRISH OAKS BETTING: 2 Cayenne Pepper, Ennistymon, 9/2 Snow, 11 Even So, 12 Laburnum, 14 Passion, 20 New York Girl, 25 Yaxeni
READ RYAN McELLIGOTT'S PREVIEW OF ALL CURRAGH RACES IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKEND