Maireads Fantasy can give Black a second Oaks success

THE stage is set for a thrilling conclusion to the Sporting Press Irish Oaks at Shelbourne Park tonight. The competition has been one of the best in memory and this evening’s decider certainly has the making of a real thriller.

Two finalists carry unbeaten records into tonight’s decider with one of the pair, Maireads Fantasy certain to start a warm favourite after a stunning display in last weekend’s semi finals. In victory, the daughter of Premier Fantasy posted 28.26, in turn becoming the fastest bitch ever to cover the 525yd trip at the famous Ringsend circuit.

It was a truly awesome performance and should she repeat it this evening, victory would almost certainly come her way. Such is the high quality of tonight’s line up that she may need to reproduce that run. Indeed any mistakes at trap rise could cost her victory with Another Issue, Lady Glenard and Skywalker Queen all likely to go up fast.

Along with Maireads Fantasy, Lady Glenard also remains unbeaten in the stake and she too was hugely impressive last week when posting 28.40. The big question is whether Lady Glenard will go up straight from trap three or will she take her familiar step or two wide when hitting the ground. If that happens then the Mick O’Donovan trained speedster could crash into her kennel companion Another Issue

Possibly the best drawn runner of the fancied quartet is Frances O’Donnell’s Skywalker Queen as she will be ploughing her traditional lone wide furrow. What’s more, this smashing female has the ability to show them all the way home in the stripes. Huge pace allied with a potent finishing kick are the main weapons in her arsenal.

The aforementioned Another Issue is another entitled to much respect. While there is a chance she could tangle with her kennel companion in the early yards, there is also a strong chance that she could turn very close to the pace. If doing so she too has the power to challenge.

Meanwhile, Maireads Fantasy wears the orange jacket and she too will need to step out lively to avoid any hassle from her inside. She has the ability to do this but she is far from the most consistent trapper.

With the possibility of some crowding in the middle, that also brings the two outsiders, Marie Gilbert’s Shades Of Soul and John Meehan’s Bling Bling Flo into the equation. Both bitches seem well housed and both are very strong finishers. There will be a few enterprising individuals taking long odds about this pair this evening.

Maireads Fantasy however remains the one to beat. If repeating the start she made last weekend her explosive pace would then see her credit trainer Fraser Black with a second Oaks victory. Lady Glenard and Skywalker Queen can chase her home.

The other big attraction on a superb Shelbourne card is the Irish Derby Trial Stake where Martin White’s English Derby runner-up Wise Thought is a massive attraction. However he will have his work cut out in a race that features the Irish Derby finalist Advantage Johnny, now back in top form, and the two young stars Mesedo Blue and Barefoot Bolt. Mesedo is unbeaten from seven outings and looks an assured leader but will he be capable of lasting home in such a contest?

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