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Irish Oaks preview: Curragh Classic opens up for Magical Lagoon with favourite Emily Upjohn missing

Royal Ascot winner Magical Lagoon into 5/4 favourite for Saturday's Irish Oaks at the Curragh after Emily Upjohn runs into travel problems; Ribblesdale third History one of three in the race for trainer Aidan O'Brien

Magical Lagoon and Shane Foley win the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot
Image: Magical Lagoon and Shane Foley win the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot

Emily Upjohn's absence appears to have presented Royal Ascot heroine Magical Lagoon with an excellent chance to provide Jessica Harrington with a second Classic success in the Juddmonte Irish Oaks.

After finishing a narrow second to Tuesday in the Oaks at Epsom last month, Emily Upjohn was odds-on to go one better at the Curragh, but was taken out on Friday afternoon due to travel complications.

Her defection means Magical Lagoon is now a hot favourite to supplement her thrilling victory in last month's Ribblesdale Stakes, but Harrington - whose only previous Classic success was provided by Alpha Centauri in the 2018 Irish 1,000 Guineas - is not one for counting her chickens before they hatch.

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"It's unfortunate for them (connections of Emily Upjohn) and I guess Magical Lagoon will be a short price now, but she's got to go and do it," said the Moone-based trainer. "Fingers crossed everything goes all right. She's been good since Ascot.

"We're always optimistic, but you can never take anything for granted."

Harrington also runs Curragh maiden winner Fennela.

Fennela and Shane Foley win for trainer Jessica Harrington and owner Vimal Khosla
Image: Fennela and Shane Foley win for trainer Jessica Harrington and owner Vimal Khosla

After deciding against running Tuesday, who since winning the Oaks has finished fourth in the Irish Derby, Aidan O'Brien fires a three-pronged assault in his bid for a seventh Irish Oaks success.

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Interestingly, Ryan Moore partners French Guineas and Oaks also-ran Toy rather than recent Group Three runner-up Emily Dickinson (Seamie Heffernan) or Ribblesdale third History (Wayne Lordan).

Cairde Go Deo appears a major contender for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane following successive Listed triumphs at Navan and Leopardstown.

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The form of her most recent victory in the King George V Cup received a significant boost on Thursday after runner-up Boundless Ocean ran away with the Group Three Meld Stakes.

The field is completed by Paddy Twomey's outsider Show Of Stars.

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