2016 – the last time that prolific trainer Aidan O’Brien won the Irish Oaks. The Irishman made it a sixth win at the weekend, to level with Sir Michael Stoute as the Group 1’s leading trainer. Snowfallwas the victor, ridden by Ryan Moore.
It was a monumental win for the 2/7 favourite – and another for O’Brien who’s always highly fancied if you’re searching the latest odds for horse racing betting on Smarkets. It marked an incredible double for all those involved with Snowfall, who won The Oaks at Epsom last month – winning by an incredible 16 lengths, a race record.
Back then, it was Frankie Dettori in the saddle, who collected his 21st British Classics win. It had been stablemate Santa Barbara who was the pre-race favourite, but at odds of 11/2 Japanese-bred filly Snowfall defied the odds and stormed to victory. At odds of 2/7 for the Irish Oaks, Snowfall was the shortest-priced winner of the race since Diminuendo and Melodist were in a dead-heat in 1988.
Her margin at the Curragh may not have been as impressive as at Epsom, but was commanding nonetheless – beating her stablemate Divinely by eight-and-a-half lengths. While it wasn’t an all-time best, it marked the biggest margin of victory since 1905, when Blakestown won by 10 lengths.
In fact, it was success all round for the O’Brien family, with Aidan recording the 1-2, and son Donnacha training the third placed Nicely, who finished half a length behind Divinely. It was another from Aidan’s yard – Willow – that finished in fourth place too.
All the plaudits are rightly with Snowfall, who became the 15th filly to secure the English/Irish Oaks double. After the race, O’Brien said:
“I’m delighted with her and she’s done very well from Epsom physically – she’s got very big and strong.
“Ryan said she has a lot of speed. She goes very strong and she finishes out very well. We’ll go one race at a time now, the Yorkshire Oaks first.”
O’Brien boasts some of the most exciting fillies in both Snowfall and Love, who is unbeaten in four races – and who won a memorable treble of the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks last season, as well as winning the Prince of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.
And looking ahead to the rest of the season, Snowfall will be aiming to emulate the successes of John Gosden’s Enable – the last filly to win the English/Irish Oaks double, who went on to win the Yorkshire Oaks and then finished second at Longchamp’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2019.
On the rest of the season, O’Brien added:
“The plan was to come here, go on to the Yorkshire Oaks and then she’d be ready for the autumn,”
And when asked about the possibility of both Love and Snowfall running in the Arc, he continued:
“The plan for Love is to go to the King George next. I’d imagine the lads will make that decision late but I’ve never seen them before not run against each other if it suits the horse.”
“It’s a long way away and we’ll take one step at a time. Wouldn’t it be great if it did fall like that? We’d be over the moon but the lads will make the decision.”
And her odds have been cut by several bookmakers, with Snowfall found at odds of 4/1, while Love is the second-favourite at 11/2 for the French showpiece race.