Racing: Ouija Board's class should confound Dunlop's fears

Tomorrow Ouija Board, such an impressive winner of the Oaks last month, will attempt to become the 10th filly to add the Hibernian equivalent of the fillies' premier Classic to her CV. She has just six rivals in the 110th Irish Oaks and if it seems a daunting statistic that only nine previous Epsom heroines have completed the double in more than a century, closer investigation reveals that the ratio is actually fifty-fifty. Only 18 have essayed the task; Masaka, in 1948, being the first to try and the first to succeed and was followed in victory by Altesse Royale, Juliette Marny, Fair Salinia, Blue Wind, Unite, Diminuendo, User Friendly and Ramruma.

Tomorrow Ouija Board, such an impressive winner of the Oaks last month, will attempt to become the 10th filly to add the Hibernian equivalent of the fillies' premier Classic to her CV. She has just six rivals in the 110th Irish Oaks and if it seems a daunting statistic that only nine previous Epsom heroines have completed the double in more than a century, closer investigation reveals that the ratio is actually fifty-fifty. Only 18 have essayed the task; Masaka, in 1948, being the first to try and the first to succeed and was followed in victory by Altesse Royale, Juliette Marny, Fair Salinia, Blue Wind, Unite, Diminuendo, User Friendly and Ramruma.

Ouija Board (4.15), who trounced All To Beautiful by seven lengths with subsequent Ribblesdale Stakes winner Punctilious trailing in third place, will start odds-on favourite and even given the poor recent record of market leaders (only two successful in the past 10 years), the propensity of the 12-furlong contest to produce surprises (Margarula scored at 33-1 two years ago) and the pessimism of trainer Ed Dunlop ("I'm sure the course will suit All Too Beautiful and Punctilious far better than Epsom did") it is hard to see Lord Derby's darling beaten.

Dunlop's refusal to count chickens in his quest for a ninth Group One success (and his second in the Irish Oaks, after Lailani two years ago) probably owes more to wood-touching caution than logic. His charge's superiority over her rivals in the Oaks was absolute and fluke-free and even if All Too Beautiful has improved, as she is entitled to do, seven lengths is a long way to make up on a filly who has stood still neither literally nor metaphorically in the meantime. Her homework in Newmarket during the past two weeks has been of a high order and she revealed at Epsom that she is possessed not only of the high-class racehorse's ability to change gear but of stamina enough for a mile-and-a-half test, becoming a rare enough commodity.

It is hard to look beyond the Oaks places for the frame-fillers again tomorrow but if there is to be an interloper from among the long-priced contenders it may be Hazarista, who seems to be progressing as she steps up in trip and beat a subsequent dual winner on her latest run.

All Too Beautiful is the last Classic throw of the summer for the Ballydoyle dice but before that Aidan O'Brien's attention will be firmly focussed on a colt on whom so many close season hopes in that department were pinned. One Cool Cat started favourite for the 2,000 Guineas after a glittering two-year-old career that just about justified his cost of $3.1 million as a yearling but flopped embarrassingly, virtually pulled up after suffering an irregular heartbeat.

Given his potential stallion valuation, it is a bold enough call to bring him out again (in today's Group Three International Stakes) but even if he runs to anything like his best form he will do well to concede his 7lb Group One penalty to Wathab (4.00), who was only a length behind him last year and was unsuited by soft ground on his seasonal debut.

There is a distinct focus on juveniles this afternoon, on both sides of the Irish Sea. O'Brien unleashes Mona Lisa, reputedly his best of her age and sex, in the seven-furlong maiden that opens the Curragh card, though she will be a watching, rather than betting, prospect. There will be more for the punter at Newbury, where 24 two-year-olds line up for the day's richest contest, the Weatherbys Super Sprint, a five-furlong dash confined to animals sold cheaply (if up to 40,000 guineas, very much more than most people earn in a year, counts as cheap) as yearlings at auction.

The race has been farmed by Richard Hannon, who fields four runners in his quest for a sixth win, including the likely favourite Don't Tell Mum and although she performed with credit when sixth in the Queen Mary Stakes, preference is for another outclassed at the Royal meeting, Alta Petens (3.00).

On his debut at York last month Blues and Royals (nap 3.30) won the contest taken 12 months previously by One Cool Cat and can continue his progress up the ladder today, and instigate an across-the-card double for the Godolphin team to be completed by Fighting Tom Cat (3.55) at Newmarket.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game