Oaks Winners And Classic Hopes


2009 Oaks and Irish Oaks winner Sariska (Jamie Spencer up)

YEAR                     EPSOM OAKS                     IRISH OAKS

2006                       Alexandrova                     Alexandrova

2007                       Light Shift                         (Peeping Fawn)

2008                       Look Here                         Moonstone

2009                       Sariska                               Sariska

2010                       (Snow Fairy)                        (Snow Fairy)

2011                       (Dancing Rain)                    Blue Bunting


Former Oaks winners have been enjoying something of a purple patch as broodmares with their three-year-old offspring in recent weeks. Not only that, some of those three-year-olds could themselves have earned a place in one of the classics.

In the above lists of Epsom and Irish Oaks winners between 2006 and 2011, the winners in bold have had three-year-old winners this year. Moonstone, who was second at Epsom before winning at The Curragh is the dam of US Army Ranger who became a firm ante-post favourite for the Derby when winning a maiden on his debut at Leopardstown but was much less convincing when only narrowly winning the Chester Vase.

Also successful at Leopardstown and then Chester was his stable-companion Somehow in the listed Cheshire Oaks. She’s a daughter of Alexandrova who completed the Epsom/Irish Oaks double in 2006.

Aidan O’Brien, trainer of US Army Ranger and Somehow, as well as their respective dams, won the 2014 Derby with Australia whose dam Ouija Board did the same Oaks double in 2004.

Australia became the third son of Galileo to emulate his sire by winning the Derby and there could be several sons of Galileo, including US Army Ranger, bidding to become  the fourth. Another is Ulysses, an eight-length winner of a maiden at Newbury, whose dam Light Shift (by Kingmambo) won the Oaks in 2007. The Galileo x Kingmambo cross yielded 2013 Derby winner Ruler of The World (Port Douglas, who nearly beat US Army Ranger at Chester is similarly bred), while the previous year’s 2000 Guineas and Derby winner Camelot (by Montjeu) was also out of a Kingmambo mare.

Incidentally, Light Shift’s sister Strawberry Fledge could also be represented in the Derby if her son the recent Prix Greffulhe winner Cloth of Stars (by Sea The Stars) is supplemented.

Returning to the Oaks winners, Sariska, winner at Epsom and The Curragh in 2009, is dam of the three-year-old filly Snow Moon (by Oasis Dream) who won a maiden at Nottingham earlier this month. The Oaks will come too soon for her, but she holds a Ribblesdale Stakes entry at Royal Ascot. Sariska has some catching up to do at stud as her elder half-sister Gull Wing (a listed winner as a four-year-old) has made a terrific start to her broodmare career.

Gull Wing has now produced three group winners from as many foals by Sariska’s sire Pivotal. The Lark, winner of the 2013 Park Hill Stakes after finishing third in the Oaks earlier that season, was followed by the 2014 King Edward VII Stakes winner Eagle Top who was second in last year’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. Gull Wing’s latest three-year-old Wings of Desire became the new Derby favourite when winning the Dante Stakes at York.

Among those he beat at York was Midterm (another son of Galileo) who had previously held that spot. Ironically, Midterm is the first foal of Midday who was narrowly beaten by Sariska in the Oaks. The rivalry between Sariska and Midday lasted over two seasons. Sariska had the upper hand initially and beat Midday again (into third) in the Irish Oaks before finding the year-older Dar Re Mi (now dam of impressive Musidora Stakes winner and leading Oaks candidate So Mi Dar) too strong in the Yorkshire Oaks. Sariska gained another win over Midday in the Middleton Stakes at York as a four-year-old but lost her appetite for racing later that season and refused to leave the stalls in both the Yorkshire Oaks and Prix Vermeille, both races which Midday won.

Melikah (recently referred to here), a half-sister to the Derby winners Galileo and Sea The Stars and Oaks runner-up All Too Beautiful, wasn’t an Oaks winner herself, but she did finish third at Epsom and then second at the Curragh. She could have a Derby runner following Moonlight Magic’s success in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial – as a son of Cape Cross, he’s bred on similar lines to Sea The Stars.

The other two Oaks winners to have had success as broodmares this year are the 2011 Irish Oaks winner Blue Bunting whose son Blue Creek won in Dubai and 2008 Epsom winner Look Here who is the dam of Doncaster maiden winner Hereawi.

[Sariska painting: Charles Church]


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