07/18/2013 12:22PM

The Curragh: Talent, Riposte head Irish Oaks


Epsom Oaks winner Talent and Ribblesdale Stakes winner Riposte head an eight-horse field entered in Saturday’s Group 1, $303,688 Irish Oaks at The Curragh.

The Epsom Oaks is a Group 1, the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot a Group 2, but Riposte nonetheless has been the recent market leader in antepost betting. Trained by Jane Cecil for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms, Riposte, a daughter of Dansili out of Rainbow Lake, made her career debut only this past April, finishing second in a maiden race at Sandown. She since has won two straight starts, both at the Irish Oaks’s 1 1/2-mile trip, and was particularly sharp in the Ribblesdale, where she defeated the Aidan O’Brien-trained Just Pretending – another Irish Oaks entrant – by more than two lengths racing over firm, fast-playing ground likely to be found again Saturday.

Talent, a New Approach filly trained by Ralph Beckett, beat 10 foes in the Epsom Oaks, her Group 1 and 12-furlong debut, while scoring a 3 3/4-length victory. Talent was a 20-1 shot in the race, and handicappers’ appraisal of her improving form might still be lagging behind her actual ability.

Alive Alive Oh makes her Group stakes debut Saturday, but is well regarded in some quarters after winning a pair of sharp victories earlier this year in lesser spots. Trainer Jim Bolger, who upset the Irish Derby with Trading Leather, sends out the unproven Galileo filly Scintilulla.

◗ English racing officials on Thursday rejected an appeal and upheld the finishing order in the July 13 Falmouth Stakes. The connections of runner-up Sky Lantern had appealed the race result, claiming victorious Elusive Kate should have been disqualified. Elusive Kate herded and bumped Sky Lantern in the late stages of the Group 1 Falmouth, and jockey William Buick’s whip struck Sky Lantern in the face.