Fawn gains Oaks revenge

Peeping Fawn took her revenge on Light Shift with a comprehensive victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Peeping Fawn took her revenge on Light Shift with a comprehensive victory in the Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Aidan O’Brien’s filly had been beaten half a length by Henry Cecil’s charge in the Vodafone Oaks but made no mistake this time in the hands of super sub Johnny Murtagh, who replaced Kieren Fallon after he was forced to give up his rides following a fall at Longchamp.

Leading a furlong out, Peeping Fawn (3-1) bounded away from Light Shift (9-4 favourite) to win by three and a half lengths. All My Loving (5-1), also trained by O’Brien, was third.

Two of John Oxx's three runners, Four Sins and Athenian Way, made the running, with Ted Durcan settling Light Shift in fifth.

Four Sins still led the field turning for home as Light Shift came with a promising run, although she was being stalked all the way by Peeping Fawn.

Murtagh unleashed his mount at the furlong pole and Peeping Fawn – clearly relishing the heavy ground – settled the issue in a few strides.

It was a second successive Irish Oaks for O'Brien, who took the prize with Alexandrova 12 months ago.

The Ballydoyle trainer said: “You all saw what she did between Epsom and the Pretty Polly, and she's still progressing now.

“She showed in season this morning but she was in good form and did the same when she won her maiden.

“I’m just delighted as she’s a beautiful filly that keeps on improving. We might well have a look at Goodwood for the Nassau now as hopefully we’ll have Alexandrova for the Yorkshire Oaks.”

Murtagh was celebrating a fourth win in the race after Ebadiyla (1997), Winona (1998) and Petrushka (2000).

“Ted seemed to be going well on Light Shift, but I was always going well too. To pick up spare ride on a horse like this is just great,” he said.

Cecil said of Light Shift: “She’s obviously better on better ground and she struggled all the way with that (ground).

“Having said that, she ran very well, but on that ground the better filly on the day won. I hope there will be another day.”

On third-placed All My Loving, O’Brien said: “She’s a lovely horse too and we thought today might just be right for her as the ground seemed to be perfect. She’s a very tough filly and she’s run very well to get third.”

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