The Irish Oaks is the second leg of the Irish Fillies' Triple Crown and one of the five Irish Classic races. Held annually in July at Curragh Racecourse, the Irish Oaks is a fierce contest between the fastest and brightest young female thoroughbreds of the season.
The Irish Oaks is a mile and a half distance horserace. The event is held on the right-handed flat course at Curragh, which also hosts the Irish 2000 Guineas. It is open only to qualifying Group 1 fillies that are three years of age. All competitors must carry 9 stones.
location: Curragh Racecourse
grade: Group 1
race type: Flat
When it was inaugurated in 1895, the Irish Oaks was run over a distance of one mile. However, perhaps in an effort to up the ante for the young contenders, the distance was changed to one mile and four furlongs in 1915. The Irish Oaks currently awards a total purse of €400,000 (as of 2017), making it one of the most valuable races for three-year-old fillies in Ireland.
The Irish Oaks is the equivalent of the Epsom Oaks, which is part of the English Fillies' Triple Crown and is the series which stood as a model for the Irish Classic races. Runners in the Irish Oaks have often competed in the Epsom Oaks earlier in the season, with those who perform well at the Curragh frequently moving on to enter the Yorkshire Oaks in August as well. As the Irish Oaks is a part of one of the most coveted events for three-year-old fillies, it draws an impressive number of visitors every year.
Below are some of the current records for the Irish Oaks. While no filly can win more than once, a select few have won the Epsom Oaks going into this race, then go on to win the Yorkshire Oaks (as of 2017).
The most successful trainer is Sir Michael Stoute who won on six occasions from Fair Salinia in 1978 to Petrushka in 2000.
The jockey to ride the most winners is Johnny Murtagh. He won on six occasions from Ebadiyla in 1997 to Chicquita in 2013.
Two owners share the record for most wins: Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor won five times from 2006 to 2016.
The horse with the fastest time of the past 70 runs is 1950 winner Corejada who won in 2 minutes and 27 seconds.
Only four fillies have won the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks. These include User Friendly (1992), Fair Salinia (1978), Alexandrova (2006) and Enable (2017).
Particularly in recent history, top-fillies have notably won multiple Oaks races as three-year-olds. Each year this occurs is a uniquely historic moment in the history of the Irish Oaks (as of 2017).
Few fillies have won the Epsom Oaks before also winning the Irish Oaks in the same year. The majority of these occurrences have happened recently in the latter portion of both races' history. The honour roll includes Masaka (1948), Juliet Marnie (1975), Fair Salinia (1978), User Friendly (1992), Ouija Board (2004), Alexandrova (2006), Sariska (2009), Snow Fairy (2010), and Enable (2017).
Some fillies go on to win the Yorkshire Oaks after taking the Irish Oaks. The honour roll includesSilversol (1936), Lynchris (1960), Dibadale (1974), Fair Salinia (1978), Shoot a Line (1980), Diminuendo (1988), User Friendly (1992), Pure Grain (1995), Ramruma (1999), Petrushka (2000),Alexandrova (2006), Peeping Fawn (2007), Blue Bunting (2011), Seventh Heaven (2016), and Enable (2017).