Peeping Fawn Turns Tables in Irish Oaks

Peeping Fawn effectively reversed the Vodafone Oaks (Eng-I) form with a decisive 3 1/2-length victory over Light Shift in the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) at The Curragh on Sunday.

Light Shift had come out on top by a half-length when the pair first met, in the Oaks at Epsom.  The Henry Cecil-trained filly was making her first start since capturing the English classic. 

Peeping Fawn was making her eighth start of the year, and was coming off an impressive win two weeks ago in the Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) over older fillies.  She has now won three races in her young career, and has never finished out of the money.

Johnny Murtagh, who was a late substitution for the injured Kieren Fallon, held the daughter of Danehill near the rear of the pack as Four Sins led the fillies at a steady gallop through the first part of the race.  As the field entered the straightaway for home, Light Shift was the first to make her move, briefly taking the lead with 1 1/2-furlongs left.

Murtagh and Peeping Fawn were just gearing up on the outside though, and the pair drove past Light Shift in the final furlong to win easily.

Light Shift easily held second by two lengths over All My Loving, who also finished third at Epsom.

Time for the 12 furlongs was 2:39.12 over the soft to heavy turf.

Johnny Murtagh commented after the race, “It was tough on Kieren, but it was great to get the call.  She is a very good filly and I always thought she was never going to get beaten.  When she moved up on the last bend, I knew she was ready to go but I said steady girl, not yet!”

He continued, “When I did ask her to quicken up and get on with the job, she did it very, very well.”

An elated O’Brien stated afterwards, “You all saw what she did between Epsom and the Pretty Polly, and she’s still progressing.  She now has won group I’s at a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half.  We are looking at Alexandrova for the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I), so this filly could go for the Nassau (Eng-I) depending on how she comes out of today’s race.”

The trainer continued, “She seems to be thriving and is improving all the time.  When a filly does that, you don’t know where it might end.  She has a great constitution and a brilliant pedigree.  She comes from the same family as Rags to Riches, who won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) this year.”

Peeping Fawn is the first foal out of the Sadler’s Wells’ mare, Maryinsky.  Her second dam is Blush With Pride, who has also produced Better Than Honour, dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags To Riches and Jazil.

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