Savethelastdance gets second chance at Classic gold

Epsom runner-up Savethelastdance bids to go one better in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at the Curragh – in which stablemate and Royal Ascot winner Warm Heart is seen as her main threat.

Savethelastdance, the choice of Ryan Moore, was an unheralded filly through the winter having only finished fifth on her sole start at two.

She reappeared in April on heavy ground at Leopardstown, where she surprised by winning at odds of 20-1 before destroying the opposition in the Cheshire Oaks at Chester by 22 lengths.

On quicker ground in the Oaks at Epsom, she was beaten into second by Soul Sister and trainer Aidan O’Brien expects the more conventional nature of the Curragh to suit her better.

“Obviously the two of them don’t work together, so it’s going to be interesting,” O’Brien said of the clash between his two smart fillies.

“There’s not much between them on the ratings, Savethelastdance is just a little higher.

“We always thought the Curragh would suit her better and the ground was quick enough in Epsom for her, so she’ll probably prefer a bit more of an ease on Saturday.

“She’s been in good form since and she’s had a nice break, too. Everything has gone well since (Epsom).”

Warm Heart stepped up from beating the reopposing Bluestocking by a head in a Newbury Listed heat to extend her superiority over Ralph Beckett’s charge in the Ribblesdale at Ascot.

“We were delighted with Warm Heart in the Ribblesdale because we weren’t exactly sure about her over a mile and a half,” said O’Brien.

“Obviously she got it well and we’ve been happy with her since.

“She definitely improved at Ascot, whether it was the distance or whatever, but she definitely did improve.”

O’Brien also runs Be Happy and Library.

Bluestocking is aiming to give Beckett a second Irish Classic in two years after Westover’s Derby success last year.

She is owned by Juddmonte, who sponsor the race, and their European bloodstock manager Barry Mahon said: “On the formbook she has to improve, but she’s a lightly-raced filly with only three runs, so we feel that there could be some progression there.

“She’s met Warm Heart twice and been beaten twice so she has a bit to find, but she’s in good form, we feel that she’s learning on the job and we’re hopeful of a good run.

“We saw how green she was at Newbury and Frankie (Dettori) felt she was green at Ascot. She got stuck on the rail and when the gap came, she didn’t really know what to do to get through it, but then picked up and finished off well.

“We hope she’ll be a bit more streetwise on Saturday, the track should suit her, it’s not a big field and a bit easier ground should suit as well. We’re hopeful rather than confident.”

Azazat represents Dermot Weld and the Aga Khan. Weld last won the race in 1996 with Dance Design.

Chris Hayes rides the Munster Oaks runner-up and said: “She is a nice filly, who has progressed with every run. She has handled slow ground and she stays quite well. She is bred to possibly get further and I’m looking forward to her.

“She is very straightforward to ride, uncomplicated.

“That form with Rosscarbery (Munster Oaks winner), to come from a maiden and take on a filly like her with that kind of experience, I thought was a good run. Rosscarbery drifted out a little bit on top of her.

“I think she has come forward for that run and hopefully she can put up a good performance.

“She has handled soft ground and circumstance has just led us to run her that way.”

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