The History of the Irish Oaks

Good Morning!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Quick side note before we get into this post… From next month I will only be posting one post per week. I have loved writing 2 each week, but now with other projects in the works I just don’t have the time to write two posts a week which are high quality and I am happy to publish. I would much rather post once a week and it be the best it can be than to post two low standard pieces of work. So that means I will be posting Wednesday 21st, Saturday 24th, Wednesday 27th and Saturday 31st and then from August my first post will be the 7th followed by a post every Saturday from then until the end of the year. However special posts about the history of races before they are run will still go up so some weeks I will be writing multiple posts. I’m sorry I have had to cut down but I just feel like this is the best option so I can avoid a burn out. Of course if anything changes and I have the time then I will write more posts but I am just cutting down to a guaranteed 1 post a week opposed to 2, anything I can write up and post additional to that will be a bonus. So with all that being said… Today we will be seeing the renewal of the Irish Oaks so let’s have a look at the history of the race as well as a little look at today’s prospects.


The Irish Oaks is a Group 1 flat race which takes place in Ireland at the Curragh Racecourse. It is open to three year old fillies and is ran over 1 mile and 4 furlongs. The race takes place in July each year and is the equivalent of The Oaks which is a famous race in England. The 2020 race was worth €230,000 with the winner receiving €142,500.

The race was established in 1895 however was originally contested over 1 mile. It was in 1915 that it was extended to its present 1 mile and 4 furlongs.

The first winner of the race in 1895 was Sapling with Latharna winning the first race over the current distance in 1915. Other early winners include The Kiwi in 1921, Santaria in 1932, Foxcroft in 1934, Superbe in 1939, Masaka in 1948, Amante in 1958 and Merry Mate in 1966.

In more recent times Godetia won in 1979 for Lester Piggott, Vincent O’Brien and owner Robert Sangster. Give Thanks won in 1983 for Declan Gillespie, Jim Bolger and owner Mrs Ogden White. In 1988 there was a dead heat called when Diminuendo for jockey Steve Cauthen and trainer Henry Cecil crossed the line at the same time as Melodist for jockey Walter Swinburn and trainer (Sir) Michael Stoute both for owner Sheikh Mohammed.

In 1997 and 1998 jockey Johnny Murtagh and trainer John Oxx won the race. In 1997 with Ebadiyla for owner HH Aga Khan IV and in 1998 with Winona for Lady Clague. In 2002 Margarula won under Kevin Manning for trainer Jim Bolger and owner Jackie Bolger.

In 2004 Ouija Board won under Kieren Fallon for Ed Dunlop and owner the 19th Earl of Derby. Kieren then won it again in 2006 on Alexandrova for Aidan O’Brien and owners Magnier / Tabor / Smith. The next two years being won by Aidan O’Brien also. In 2007 with Peeping Fawn ridden by Johnny Murtagh for Tabor / Magnier and in 2008 with Moonstone again ridden by Johnny Murtagh for Magnier / Tabor / Smith.

In 2010, Ryan Moore won the race on board Snow Fairy for Ed Dunlop and Anamoine Ltd. With Frankie Dettori winning it in 2011 on board Blue Bunting for Mahmood Al Zarooni and Godolphin.

In 2015, the late, great Pat Smullen won the race on board Covert Love for Hugo Palmer and the Fomo Syndicate. With the brilliant Enable winning it in 2017 for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Khalid Abdullah.

The last three winners have been Sea of Class in 2018 for James Doyle, William Haggas and Sunderland Holding Inc, Star Catcher in 2019 for Frankie Dettori, John Gosden and Anthony Oppenheimer and Even So in 2020 for Colin Keane, Ger Lyons and Magnier / Paul Shanahan.


Now onto some records.

The leading jockey with 6 wins in the race is Johnny Murtagh who won with Ebadiyla in 1997, Winona in 1998, Petrushka in 2000, Peeping Fawn in 2007, Moonstone in 2008 and Chicquita in 2013.

The leading trainer, also with 6 wins in the race is Sir Michael Stoute who has won with Fair Salinia in 1978, Colorspin in 1986, Unite in 1987, Melodist who won in a dead heat in 1988, Pure Grain in 1995 and Petrushka in 2000.

The leading owner (since 1960 – Including part ownership) is Susan Magnier who has won with Alexandrova in 2006, Peeping Fawn in 2007, Moonstone in 2008, Bracelet in 2014, Seventh Heaven in 2016 and Even So in 2020.


A quick look at this years runners. Please bare in mind I am writing this post at 10pm on 16/07/2021 and all odds are correct at time of writing – via Ladbrokes.

Currently the 2/7 favourite is Snowfall for Aidan O’Brien. Ryan Moore will ride this stable star, opposed to Frankie Dettori who rode her back in June when they won the English Oaks at Epsom.

There is then Nicest at 8/1 for Donnacha O’Brien and Gavin Ryan. Divinely at 10/1 for Aidan O’Brien and Wayne Lordon. Willow at 10/1 for Aidan O’Brien and Seamie Heffernan. Mariesque at 33/1 for Joseph O’Brien and Shane Crosse. La Joconde at 40/1 for Aidan O’Brien and Emmet McNamara. So a pretty big section of the entries belong to the O’Brien family with only Party House at 40/1 for G M Lyons and Colin Keane and Ahandfulofsummers at 66/1 for J A Stack and Chris Hayes in the declarations away from the O’Brien family.

Personally, I would say you have to go for Snowfall, however you can’t rule any of them out. However I would go for Snowfall to become the latest horse to win both the English and Irish Oaks, the first since Enable in 2017. She was impressive last time out, stable jockey Ryan Moore takes the ride this time and I think they’ll win pretty comfortably. Let me know over on Twitter who you think will win!


I hope you all enjoyed this one, good luck with your bets today and I will see you all in my next post on Wednesday evening at 6pm!

An Interview with Donnacha O’Brien

Donnacha (1)

Heya guys!

Today’s post is another ridiculously exciting one, an interview with Donnacha O’Brien. Donnacha has only recently retired from the saddle at 21 years old as the Irish Champion Jockey and now he has followed in his father and brother’s footsteps and taken up training. I was lucky enough to grab a few precious moments during Donnach’s very busy morning to interview him, I really hope you enjoy!

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Me: You obviously won some incredible races as a young jockey, what is the big goal now as a trainer? What is one race that you would love to win?

Donnacha: The Epsom Derby is the pinnacle of flat racing, so long term that would be a goal. I don’t want to set any short term goals really as I’m still just figuring things out.

Me: You were riding, arguably, the best you ever had when you decided to retire from the saddle, how hard of a decision was that? What pushed you to finally decide now was the time?

Donnacha: It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but there was never going to be a good time to make that call. I am happy with the decision I made and I am looking forward to next season as a trainer.

Me: What are your opinions surrounding the discussions of banning the whip?

Donnacha: The whip is a very well designed device that helps get the most out of the horses without hurting them. I know myself from getting hit by other riders in the heat of a finish that it doesn’t hurt. I understand the argument that it’s the perception of it that hurts racing, but I feel we should be concentrating on education people about it, instead of banning it.

Me: Is it difficult to come from such a massive racing family, with the pressure of constantly being compared to your dad or your brother?

Donnacha: Not really. I’m used to it as this stage. I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Me: What is your favourite race of your career, win or lose?

Donnacha: I got a real buzz out of Kew Gardens at Ascot. I always thought he could beat Stradivarius and to do it the way he did was very exciting.

Me: What would you say to anyone who thinks racing is animal cruelty?

Stop reading things from people that don’t know what they are talking about. Go to a yard during an open day and meet the horses and people that look after them in person and then decide for yourself.

Me: If you could ride any horse that you never did, past or present, what horse would you choose?

Donnacha: It would have to be Frankel. He was the best I’ve seen and possibly the best ever.

Me: You bowed out at the top as the Irish Champion Jockey for two consecutive seasons – Do you have any regrets in your riding career? Or any races you wish you could have won?

Donnacha: Of course there’s plenty I didn’t achieve, but you can’t achieve everything. I was very lucky in my career and I don’t have any regrets.

Me: Your dad and brother are obviously incredible trainers – How much advice have you taken from them? What’s the best advice you have been given?

Donnacha: I have learned everything I know from my family. Dad always says “you can only do your best, so if things don’t go right you have to accept it and move on.”

Me: What is one of your horses that you think we should look out for this season?

Donnacha: Fancy Blue is probably the highest profile horse I have. She is two from two and will hopefully contest some classic trials next year.

Me: What is your favourite day of the racing calendar?

Donnacha: Royal Ascot is a very exciting week for everyone in flat racing. That along with both the Irish and English Derby days.

Me: You’re only 21 and already achieved some incredible things, what is your best advice for young people who have a passion they want to follow, whether that be racing or something else?

Donnacha: Try and always be pleasant to people. It’s never an advantage to make someone dislike you regardless of whether you agree with them or not. After that, all you can do is your best.

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I want to firstly say a massive thank you to Donnacha for taking some time out to answer some questions, he truly is a gentleman. Donnacha has some very exciting prospects in his yard and I am sure he will be adding to his yard more and more as he progresses. I really hope you enjoyed this interview and I will see you all in my next post!