Friday, July 19, 2013

Irish Oaks 2013 - Crowning achievement for Riposte?

What a cracking edition of the Irish Oaks this year with all of the 8 contenders having a proper shot on paper. It's too bad Ralph Beckett's Secret Gesture could not make the trip as she would have been one of the main contenders to land the prize.

The initial process of elimination is a tough one but I'm inclined to discard all three representatives from the Ballydoyle camp in Just Pretending, Magical Dream and Venus de Milo. I think they are a touch below the rest of the field and certainly not at the level of some of their illustrious predecessors like Alexandrova and Peeping Fawn. I will also take Scintillula out from the Bolger yard out of the contenders' list as she has yet to prove herself at that level. This leaves Alive Alive Oh, Chicquita, Riposte and Talent.

Alive Alive Oh could be anything of a filly, having won her 2 races, out of 3 outings, in a canter. Her races have all been on give in the ground and the main question about her is how she will act on the Curragh's firm ground. There is a good possibility that being by Duke of Marmalade that she should relish fast ground but she will have to confirm on that to have a decent crack on Saturday.

Chicquita is the French raider from the Royer Dupre stable. She closed very well in the Prix Diane as runner-up to Treve and the 12 furlong distance will suit her to bits. After all she's a Montjeu. She has shown quirkiness, flashing her tail and has a tendency to hang when asked to deliver. If Johnny Murtagh can steer her right, she could play a role at the finish.

Riposte is this year's outstanding Ribblesdale winner and is a close relative of Frankel. She definitely has stardom in the genes. She's proven at the distance and on the fast ground. She should be well rested from her last Royal Ascot outing and ready to fire. She should be in the first 3.

Talent surprised even her trainer Beckett by beating stablemate Secret Gesture in this year's Oaks. Although it's unclear as to the exact quality of the Oaks form, she's clearly from the top drawer having won 3 out of her 4 races. She will have no issues on the fast ground, and will rely mainly on the fast pace to unleash her turn of foot. Unless she gets stuck in traffic, she should be among the finishers as well.

Riposte is definitely on the up and the race seems to come at the right time for her. The field looks very level, so going each-way on the daughter of Dansili is the preferred selection. This looks to be a very hotly-contested race, unless a real superstar emerges from the pack.

Each-way: Riposte

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