The Aga Khan's Shawanda trounced the field in the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) at The Curragh Sunday in what jockey Christophe Soumillon called his "easiest group I winner."
The Alain de Royer Dupre-conditioned daughter of Sinndar took the lead some two furlongs from home and soon kicked away from her rivals. She was so far in front inside the final furlong that Soumillon was easing her up as they neared the wire to finish five lengths in front of the Sangster Family's Playful Act. It was 2 1/2 lengths back to Michael Tabor's Mona Lisa, with Right Key fourth. The slightly favored Dash To The Top (4-1) finished fifth.
The 9-2 second choice in the 12-horse Oaks, Shawanda won for the fourth straight time while claiming her first classic victory. It was also a first classic win for her sire's initial crop.
"It was just so easy, my easiest group I winner," Soumillon told Racing Post
. "She was like a champion today. For a filly to do that in a race like this is amazing."
Shawanda won for the first time on good to firm ground, finishing in a fast 2:27.10.
"She was always on the bridle," he continued, "but she did change her legs because she was going uphill and downhill, which she is not used to doing.
"When I let her go there was no need to push her, but it was a big race so I asked her. Then I saw on the big screen that we were well clear of the rest. She could have won by ten lengths instead of five."
Her trainer de Royer Dupre indicated that the Prix Vermeille (Fr-I) Sept. 11 at Longchamp would likely be next up for Shawanda.
de Royer Dupre, who has trained for the Aga Khan for 23 years, told Racing Post
: "Normally with a good filly like this it is the Vermeille and then the Arc (Fr-I) and that is the plan for Shawanda. She is progressing all the time."
It was the second Irish Oaks win for the Aga Khan, who previously won with Ebadiyla in 1997.
After Dash To The Top, who was beaten by nearly 10 lengths, came Saoire, Thakafaat, Allexina, Chelsea Rose, Pictavia, In The Ribbons, Lazy Marie, and Hazariya.