07/13/2001 12:00AM

Lackluster Irish Oaks on tap


Sunday's Irish Oaks at the Curragh is notable more for who isn't running than who is.

Injuries have removed from the mix the first two finishers in the English Oaks, Imagine and Flight of Fancy, although Imagine is already being aimed by trainer Aidan O'Brien for an Arc prep in September after having missed a few days of training with a stone bruise.

Others among the missing in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Oaks are Sahara Slew, winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, and Italian Oaks winner Zanzibar, whose trainer, Michael Bell, does not want to run her on good-to-firm ground.

O'Brien has entered six fillies in the Irish Oaks, with Karsavina, the mount of Michael Kinane, probably the best of them. French 1,000 Guineas winner Rose Gypsy and juvenile Group 1 winner Sequoyah are not without hope in spite of their failures in the Coronation Stakes.

Kevin Prendergast sends out recent Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes winner Rebelline, but the race could boil down to a duel between the English Oaks third-place finisher, Relish the Thought, and Time Away, who was third in the French Oaks.

Time Away, a Darshaan filly trained by John Dunlop, rates the edge by virtue of her victory over Relish the Thought in the Musidora Stakes in May.