Monday 11 December 2017

Curragh filly duel is doable

Taghrooda and Paul Hanagan win from Tarfasha and Pat Smullen and Volume, with Richard Hughes, in the Investec Oaks.
Taghrooda and Paul Hanagan win from Tarfasha and Pat Smullen and Volume, with Richard Hughes, in the Investec Oaks.

NO DECISION has yet been made over whether Investec Oaks first and second Taghrooda and Tarfasha will clash again in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh on July 19.

Both fillies are owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, with Taghrooda trained by John Gosden and Tarfasha in the care of Dermot Weld. Taghrooda came out on top in style at Epsom but on home territory Tarfasha may be a tougher nut to crack - unless the ground is soft which would place her participation in doubt.

"We've not really discussed it as yet as all sorts of things can still go wrong, especially with fillies," said the owner's racing manager Angus Gold.

"Both of them have been in very good form since Epsom, I've been informed.

"It's well documented Tarfasha wouldn't want it soft so if it went heavy that would probably rule her out. So many things can go wrong it wouldn't make sense to say one will run and one won't. Ultimately, Sheikh Hamdan will decide."

Investec Derby runner-up Kingston Hill has come in for support with the sponsors ahead of Saturday's Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, with trainer Roger Varian stating he is "keen" to run his stable star. An 11th hour defector from last weekend's Irish Derby, Kingston Hill is now 7-1 from 10-1 with Coral despite there still being a slight question mark over his participation.

Rain is forecast overnight on Friday and while Varian is not looking for a mudbath, he would be loath to risk his Racing Post Trophy winner on ground with any jar. "We're very keen to run on Saturday if we possibly can, we're not looking for soft ground - we understand we're in the summer time - he doesn't have to have it soft, but we're just looking for safe, galloping ground," Varian said.

"If it was too firm, that might put our participation in doubt."

At Fairyhouse last night, Tobann had a clear-cut success in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Brownstown Stakes. Given a patient ride by Kevin Manning, the Jim Bolger-trained filly only had a couple behind her entering the straight, albeit with the field reasonably closely bunched.

The 3-1 chance was soon on terms with other joint-favourite Majestic Queen after that one hit the front, and in the last 100 yards secured a Group Three triumph by a length and a half.

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