Irish Oaks opens up for Magical Lagoon
Emily Upjohn’s absence appears to have presented Royal Ascot heroine Magical Lagoon with an excellent chance to provide Jessica Harrington with a second Classic success in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks.
After finishing a narrow second to Tuesday in the Oaks at Epsom last month, Emily Upjohn was odds-on to go one better at the Curragh, but was taken out on Friday afternoon due to travel complications.
Her defection means Magical Lagoon is now a hot favourite to supplement her thrilling victory in last month’s Ribblesdale Stakes, but Harrington – whose only previous Classic success was provided by Alpha Centauri in the 2018 Irish 1,000 Guineas – is not one for counting her chickens before they hatch.
“It’s unfortunate for them (connections of Emily Upjohn) and I guess Magical Lagoon will be a short price now, but she’s got to go and do it,” said the Moone-based trainer.
“Fingers crossed everything goes all right. She’s been good since Ascot.
“We’re always optimistic, but you can never take anything for granted.”
Harrington also runs Curragh maiden winner Fennela.
After deciding against running Tuesday, who since winning the Oaks has finished fourth in the Irish Derby, Aidan O’Brien fires a three-pronged assault in his bid for a seventh Irish Oaks success.
Interestingly, Ryan Moore partners French Guineas and Oaks also-ran Toy rather than recent Group Three runner-up Emily Dickinson (Seamie Heffernan) or Ribblesdale third History (Wayne Lordan).
“Hopefully the step up to a mile and a half will unlock the talent we believe Toy has,” Moore told Betfair.
“I know she comes from a great family, most of whom excelled at a mile, but she is a Galileo and maybe she has found it all happening a bit too quick for her over shorter trips, though her run in the French 1000 Guineas in particular was a fair effort.
“We believe she is better than she has shown to date.”
Cairde Go Deo appears a major contender for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane following successive Listed triumphs at Navan and Leopardstown.
The form of her most recent victory in the King George V Cup received a significant boost on Thursday after runner-up Boundless Ocean ran away with the Group Three Meld Stakes.
The field is completed by Paddy Twomey’s outsider Show Of Stars.