Ouija Board became the 10th filly to achieve the Epsom-Curragh Oaks double Saturday with a one-length victory over Punctilious in the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I).
Although not as visually stunning as her seven-length win in the Vodafone Oaks at Epsom, Ouija Board won the 1 1/2-mile Classic with relative ease as the 4-7 choice over a filly, the Godolphin-owned Punctilious, she had beaten by more than 10 lengths previously.
Ouija Board, with Kieren Fallon aboard, dwelt at the start but edged into contention to seize the lead from Punctilious on the outside more than a furlong from home. She hung right in the late stages, but won driving. The final time of 2:28.25 for 12 furlongs on good to firm going was the fastest by a filly over the course.
The Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) Aug. 18 at York is the likely objective for Lord Derby's standout homebred daughter of Cape Cross, winning trainer Ed Dunlop said afterward.
"We will wait and see how she comes out of the race, but I'd imagine the Yorkshire Oaks might be next," Dunlop told Racing Post
. "We had been thinking about bringing her back in trip in the Nassau Stakes but that is only 13 days away and comes too soon."
Dunlop won the Irish Oaks with Lailani three years ago.
"I'm delighted for the filly morethan anything else," he said. "She has proved herself a champion of her sex over this distance. It looked for a while that it was going to be a close call today, but Kieren told me he was always very happy."
Masaka, Altesse Royale, Juliette Marny, Fair Salinia, Blue Wind, Unite, Diminuendo, User Friendly and Ramruma, Fallon's other Irish Oaks champion, are the previous fillies to complete the coveted double,
Fallon told Racing Post
: "She didn't quicken away today like she did at Epsom and that was probably due to the fact that she has got very laid back. She was very relaxed going to the start. She jumped out last and switched off and that is what you want them to do in a race like today's.
Punctilious, Frankie Dettori aboard, stalked early leader All Too Beautiful, who gave way to Danelissima after three furlongs and showed the way into the straight. Punctilious collared Danelissima and All Too Beautiful with more than a quarter-mile to go and led until overtaken by Ouija Board. Hazarista and Mick Kinane finished three quarters of a length back in third place, with All Too Beautiful faded to fourth for Jamie Spencer, 8 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
Marinnette (5th), Danelissima (6th) and Royal Tigress (7th completed the order.