Savethelastdance Waltzes To Win in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks

July 22, 2023

Winning connections of Savethelastdance receiving the winner’s trophy. Photo By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Savethelastdance Is Record 7th Juddmonte Irish Oaks Win for Aidan O’Brien

By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Savethelastdance (10/11f) battled back bravely in the final furlong to win the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at The Curragh, Ireland, on Saturday.

In the fourth classic of the 2023 Irish flat season, the daughter of now-deceased Coolmore stallion Galileo, was headed by the English-trained challenger, Bluestocking (4/1), in the colours of race sponsor, Juddmonte Farms, inside the final furlong. 

When Ryan Moore asked the three-year-old Aidan O’Brien-handled filly to challenge again, the Epsom Oaks runner-up came on the outside and went on for a half-length victory.

The win was a record seventh success in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks for Ballydoyle trainer O’Brien and a 98th individual Group/Grade 1 winner for the former Coolmore Stud Galileo, who died two years ago this month. 

Reacting to another success at the highest level for Ryan Moore and the Coolmore partners, Aidan O’Brien said:

“We knew this was her first run back of the autumn campaign. The ground was way different (soft today) to what she ran on the last time. Chris’ (Hayes, rider of Azazat) filly just came up and came around her when she was starting to get going and might have been that little bit intimidated by it. Ryan was brilliant on her.” 

Savethelastdance wearing the victor’s blanket. Photo By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Expanding on his praise of the excellent ride Ryan Moore gave the winner, O’Brien asserted:

“When she was in a little bit of trouble, he kept her coming forward without panicking and got her out, and then asked her to to come again. It is a very difficult thing to motivate a horse in that type of ground, mind you, she did answer for him – he was brilliant on her. She’s very brave, very relaxed and calm. It was a big change from fast ground to heavy ground.”

Considering future targets for the remainder of the season for the star filly, the Ballydoyle trainer responded by saying:

“Obviously we know that she stays very well and I’d say she’s going to sharpen up a good bit from today. You can bounce her out as forward and as handy as you want and I’d say she’ll find plenty and save plenty. She’s a massive big masculine filly. She’s masculine with a big backside on her out of a Scat Daddy mare, obviously by Galileo. When Ryan really wanted her, she got down for him. Another unbelievable broodmare prospect.”

Savethelastdance and Ryan Moore. Photo By Breandán Ó hUallacháin

The successful conditioner, now the winningmost handler in the history of the Group 1 filles’ classic, was also hopeful the owners might consider keeping Savethelastdance in training next season for a four-year-old campaign:

“If they decide (to keep her in training as a four-year-old) we would be delighted. An even pace at The Curragh, there’s no where to hide out there. The last fuurlong here off an even gallop can be a very long furlong.”

Aidan O’Brien previously won the Juddmonte Irish Oaks with Alexandrova (2006), Peeping Fawn (2007), Moonstone (2008), Bracelet (2014), Seventh Heaven (2016) and Snowfall (2021).

In the Group 2 Comer Group International, the change in ground (soft, yielding in places) was to Emily Dickinson’s (6/4f) advantage, as the daughter of Dubawi got back to winning ways when taking the one mile and six furlongs contest.

Disappointing on her previous run when fourth in the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last month, the Coolmore partners-owned filly was a comfortable three-length winner on this occasion from Rosscarbery (15/8) in second and the Donnacha O’Brien filly Amusement (11/1) another three and a quarter lengths further back in third.

“The original plan was that she would go to Goodwood for the 2 mile – the Group 1 – but when the ground changed, we said we’d leave her take her chance here,” admitted the winning handler. “She loves the ground, loves being ridden like that. With that ease in the ground, she’s a different filly. She goes on the other ground as she’s very genuine and tries very hard but on that ground (soft) she’s a different filly.”

Receiving feedback from the winning rider, Ryan Moore, O’Brien pointed out: 

“Ryan said she came alive at the two (furlong) marker when he wanted her to. He filled her with confidence. He said going to the start he knew that she was different. She loves that ease in the ground.” 

Aidan O’Brien introduced another exciting two-year-old prospect, Henry Longfellow (5/4f), in the opening Juddmonte Farms Irish EBF (C & G) Maiden. A son of Dubawi out of multiple Group 1 winner Minding, a filly O’Brien previously traimed at Ballydoyle, the colt is named after the US poet and educator, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. 

With three scratches in the race, the Ballydoyle trio of Henry Longfellow, Mythology (13/8) a twice-raced maiden by Starspangledbanner, and Master Of The Hunt (13/2), an expensive son of No Nay Never, who, like Henry Longfellow, was making his racecourse debut, filled the first-three places in that order as they crossed the finishing line.

Discussing Henry Longfellow post-race, winning handler Aidan O’Brien, stated:

“He looks a lovely horse. He does bend his knee a bit but he does quicken. You’d have to be very happy with him. Ryan (Moore, winning jockey) said he was very easy. He didn’t touch him or anything. He had been working well and he only came on the scene lately. He’s an exciting type of horse.”

An amazing article. Well done @jonathanstettin #ruffian twitter.com/jonathanstetti…

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