Hot favourite Snowfall wins Juddmonte Irish Oaks at The Curragh

July 19, 2021

Snowfall (2/7f) completed the Oaks double on Saturday when triumphing in the Group 1 Juddmonte Irish Oaks at The Curragh.

The highly impressive 16 length winner of the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom, England, on her last run, the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly became the 15th dual winner of the 1 mile 4 furlong classic.

The daughter of Deep Impact out of a Galileo mare, Best In The World, is owned by the Coolmore partners and handled at Ballydoyle Stables by Aidan O’Brien.

Snowfall, ridden by Italian jockey Frankie Dettori at Epsom, was this time ridden by Coolmore’s No. 1 rider, Ryan Moore, in her eight and a half length success at the headquarters of Irish flat racing.

The race was a highly successful contest for both the owners and the trainer as Coolmore provided the first four home, while O’Brien handled the winner, runner-up and fourth place horses respectively in the eight-runner field. Interestingly, it was his younger son, Donnacha, who trained the third place finisher.

Divinely (11/1), a daughter of the recently deceased Galileo, who had finished in third place behind her stable companion in the English equivalent at the beginning of last month, was runner-up on this occasion. 

Two daughters of another Coolmore stallion, American Pharoah, came home in third and fourth places respectively, Nicest (10/1) and Willow (15/2), with all four bred by the County Tipperary-based Coolmore Stud.

Speaking to the host broadcaster RTÉ Sport after the race, winning rider Ryan Moore admitted:

“She’s very straightforward; she did what she’s entitled to do. There was an honest pace, she has plenty of class, she’s very good, and it’s a pleasure to ride her.” 

The now two-time Juddmonte Irish Oaks-winning jockey added:

“I’m very happy with her. Three times she’s run, she’s stepped up in trip and she’s taken it all very well. She’s an exciting filly. I wouldn’t say anything is too much of a problem for this filly. At the moment she’s the best around.”

The early running was made by one of Snowfall’s stablemates, La Joconde, with two other Coolmore-owned fillies Nicest and Willow close up.

Snowfall raced in midfield for much of the contest under Ryan Moore, but found herself tight for room as they turned into the straight. Once the English jockey saw an opportunity to move the eventual winner through a small hole in the field, the filly quickly put distance between herself and her rivals. It was then over as a contest with the daughter of Deep Impact winning by eight and a half lengths at the wire.

A delighted winning handler, Aidan O’Brien, told RTÉ Sport:

“She’s an unbelievable mare with an unbelievable pedigree. She has stamina and she had speed. Ryan said she came alive with him turning in. Genetics usually kick in when the pace is strong. You either stay or you don’t, you either have class or you don’t have class.” 

The Ballydoyle conditioner admitted to being anxious prior her win in the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom last month, stating:

“We were worried going to Epsom with the soft ground, and obviously when they win like that in soft ground, you’re always scratching you head. We always thought good ground was going to suit her.”

Revealing the plan for the remainder of the season for the dual classic-winning filly, O’Brien explained: 

“Coming here we were conscious of the second half of the season. It was the perfect place to come after Epsom. It is a beautiful track, a great race, and we were just conscious of the autumn. The plan was to come here and then if everything went well we could go on to York (for the Yorkshire Oaks), then we’d have her for the autumn. 

“The lads (Coolmore partners) decide where they all run. When we say they are well, they pick a race, and when it gets close to the race, they decide whether they’re going to let them run or not.” 

Snowfall is the first winner for Galileo’s Group 3-winning daughter Best in the World, a full sister to former Arc de Triomphe and Breeder’s Cup Turf victor, Found. 

Snowfall’s race record now reads four wins (two of them classics) and a third from 10 starts and she is undefeated this year.

Photo: The Curragh Racecourse (@curraghrace)

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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@PastTheWire Great read brought back some sad memories.The only race she lost killed her. Legacy. @jonathanstettin

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