Murtagh takes over as Fawn storms to victory

KIEREN FALLON, who took a fall from Eagle Mountain in a Group 1 at Longchamp on Saturday night, missed the ride on the brilliant Peeping Fawn, among others, in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh yesterday.

Fallon had a stiff neck and also complained of stomach cramps. His place on Peeping Fawn was taken by ice-cool Johnny Murtagh and she toyed with the opposition on her way to an emphatic victory.

For Fallon it was yet another disappointment, in a career which has often been littered with them.

Explained Peeping Fawn’s trainer, Aidan O’Brien: “Kieren took a bad fall and was given painkillers. He woke up feeling very sick. He will now have scans and X-rays and, hopefully, will be all right in the next couple of days.”

There was further drama when it was rumoured that the daughter of Danehill was coming into season and it was confirmed when O’Brien reported as much to the stewards.

“She was showing the signs, but also appeared to be coming into season when winning her maiden at Naas,” said O’Brien. “I reported it to the stewards, there was no point in saying it afterwards.”

Peeping Fawn was on offer at around 13-8 in the morning, but drifted all the way out to a remarkable 4-1 on track. That found favour, but she was still returned a whopping 3-1, a price that seemed unthinkable on the lead-in to the race.

Four Sins carried them along and as they swung into the straight, the winner was tanking in sixth place.

Murtagh was oozing confidence and gradually asked his charge to take closer order. He pushed her ahead with over a furlong to run and Peeping Fawn surged away to beat her Epsom conqueror, Light Shift, by three and a half lengths.

“She’s real good and improving all the time,” said O’Brien, who won the race previously with Alexandrova. “We will think about Goodwood now and the Nassau Stakes.

“She has one of the best pedigrees in the world and is a big strong filly. The second might not have handled the ground, our filly goes through it.”

Asked why it took Peeping Fawn so long to win her maiden, O’Brien quipped: “Maybe, if she was with a proper trainer, she’d have won a lot sooner!”

Said Murtagh on his fourth Oaks: “I was always cruising in behind Ted (Durcan, Light Shift). It was great to get a spare ride and then to go and win like that.”

Henry Cecil, trainer of Light Shift, warmly congratulated O’Brien in the winner’s enclosure. Said Cecil: “The best filly won, we have no excuses. I hope we will meet another day.”

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