07/16/2005 11:00PM

Shawanda romps in Irish Oaks


Shawanda romped to victory in the $480,000 Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Sunday, producing a devastating turn of foot for a handy 5-length triumph over Playful Act.

Her rider Christophe Soumillon, who was on cruise control as he put the Sinndar filly on the lead a quarter mile from home, pronounced it "my easiest Group 1 victory." Bred and owned by the Aga Khan and trained in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre, Shawanda got the 1 1/2 miles on good to firm ground in a quick 2:27.10.

Out of a Darshaan half sister to Prix Vermeille winner Sharaya, Shawanda has progressed rapidly this season, landing a 1 1/4-mile Chantilly maiden in her second start in April before taking the listed 1 3/8-mile Prix de la Seine and the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 Prix de Royaumont.

On Sunday she was beating a first-rate field of fillies. Playful Act, a Group 1 winner at two, had recently beaten older fillies in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks. The 4-1 favorite and fifth-place finisher Dash To The Top had beaten older fillies in a listed race last time. Sxith-place Saoire had won the Irish 1000 Guineas, while Thakafaat, who checked in seventh, was coming off a win in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot at York. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Mona Lisa, whose previous best had been a third in the one-mile Group 1 Coronation Stakes, was third this time as well, 2-1/2 lengths behind Playful Act.

Royer-Dupre suggested that the 1 1/2-mile Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on Sept. 11 would serve as Shawanda's prep for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 2. In the meantime, he can take pleasure that Shawanda's victory provided a measure of revenge for France for the Irish victory inflicted at Longchamp last Thursday by the O'Brien-trained Scorpion in the Grand Prix de Paris.

But O'Brien must have been equally pleased with the victory of his Danehill colt Amigoni in the 6-furlong, 63-yard Group 3 Anglesey Stakes on Sunday. With his more highly regarded stablemate Aussie Rules scratched because of a stone bruise, the 7-4 Amigoni prevailed by half a length over Black Charmer to follow up on O'Brien's past Anglesey victories with Johannesburg, One Cool Cat and Oratorio.