Ian Fortune

The quarter finals of the Sporting Press Online Edition Irish Oaks will provide some outstanding racing at Shelbourne Park this evening. All four heats are packed with real quality and there is no room for error.


Droopys Mandolin will start favourite in the opening heat despite suffering defeat seven days ago. Her task is far from straightforward, however, with the likes of Rathdown Molly, Epic Chick, Lincoln Legacy and Beretta Reba capable of having a say.

Lincoln Legacy and Rathdown Molly are both blessed with tremendous early speed and can race prominently, while Epic Chick has a kind draw in the stripes. Beretta Reba is also in the form of her career but Droopys Mandolin remains the one to beat.

If trapping on terms, she has both the early speed and incredible back straight pace to match any in training. The Robert Gleeson trained star is selected to come home in front, although Rathdown Molly and Epic Chick can push her hard throughout.


Heat 2 could well be decided in the early yards. Mustang Sally has been in electric form, showing superb early speed. She is likely to cut for the fence in the opening yards from trap five and that will leave Kerogue Lady with room to race from the outside draw.

She too has sensational early speed and can take full advantage of a kind draw. If Mustang Sally clears those on her inner, which include last week’s pace-setter Droopys Edel, she too would have a huge say in the outcome.

Annie On Faya will have her supporters from an ideal draw on the fence, while Beratta Melba is also in fine form. Sawdust Storm completes a top-class line-up and she too has some outstanding form. Much will depend on which of the outside duo gets loose in the early yards. On the strength of the draw, Kerogue Lady is selected to come home in front. Annie On Faya has the best of the draw on the fence and could potentially emerge as the main threat.          


Deelish Nora needs to be on her toes in Heat 3 but is likely to start favourite. She has superb pace from start to finish and a trap three draw could work in her favour. The presence of the fast-starting Fleadh Saraide on the fence is a concern for Deelish Nora but she can turn close enough to make her presence felt.

Lets Go Bubbles is in tremendous form and is well housed in the stripes. She is running with real purpose and looks set to challenge, while Born To Perform is steadily returning to her very best. After a big run in defeat last week, she too will have plenty of support. Ballymac Run and Kyanite Kate complete the field but both will need to produce their very best to win.


Short Grip, Droopys Fidget and A Lucky Julie will dominate the betting in the final heat and much will come down to the start. Short Grip was behind A Lucky Julie last week but is forgiven for that defeat. She is normally a flying starter and is ready to go very fast.

A Lucky Julie and Droopys Fidget are both incredibly fast and capable of posting 28.40 or faster but they will need to contain Short Grip into the turn. That is no easy task, especially if she comes away racing from trap five.

Highview Treat, Tell On Bella and Chelsea Pat complete the field both nothing short of a career best would see them play a part. Short Grip can make every inch to score from trap five.