There's some quality racing at the Curragh on Saturday, including the Group 1 Irish Oaks where Joseph O'Brien believes his New York Girl is capable of running a big race...
"She has to improve to compete with the market leaders, but I have a lot of faith in her and think she's capable of running a big race."
- Joseph O'Brien on New York Girl
Payment the one to beat but Master should improve
16:45 - Twilight Payment and Master Of Reality
Twilight Payment has been in particularly good order for the last couple of months and it was great to see him win the Vintage Crop Stakes in such good style last time. That form gives him a leading chance in this and he has continued to be in great form since then. He looks to be the one to beat.
Master O Reality was making his seasonal reappearance when finishing well behind Twilight Payment in the Vintage Crop Stakes last time. He just needed the run and should improve well from that run. At his very best, he'd be the one to beat, but he has plenty of ground to make up on Twilight Payment.
It promises to be a really interesting race and as long as one of ours wins it, I'll be very happy!
Thames Rivers should run very well
17:15 - Thames River and Thundering Nights
Thames River is a horse we've always liked. He ran a bit below expectations on his seasonal reappearance, but he probably just needed the run there. Stepping up to this trip should really suit him and with a run under his belt I'd be hoping he can improve enough to run very well.
Thundering Nights is a filly that we like and she has always looked like one that would do well over longer trips this season. This is her first run back, so I'd expect her to improve on whatever she does, but she's a smart filly that I would hope can improve this year.
This has been the target and I have faith in her
19:15 - New York Girl
We supplemented New York Girl for the Irish Derby following her really good return in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, but she got unlucky with the draw and it was basically a non-event for her. She missed the kick and could never get into it, though she did plug on in the straight. We've had this race in mind for her all season and thankfully the draw has been much kinder to her this time. She has to improve to compete with the market leaders, but I have a lot of faith in her and think she's capable of running a big race.
Consistent Tonkinese can run a good race
19:45 - Tonkinese and Grace To Grace
It was great to see Tonkinese win the Apprentice Derby at the Curragh last time and he'll be bidding for a big Derby double here in the Ladies Derby! He is a tricky customer, but in fairness to him he is consistent. His draw isn't ideal, but a wide draw didn't hold him back last time, so hopefully he'll run a good race.
Grace To Grace made an encouraging return to action at the Curragh last time and the return to this longer trip will suit her. The draw was kind enough to her, but with her running style she's likely to need her share of good luck.