Chicquita gets off the mark in the Irish Oaks under in-form Johnny MurtaghPICTURE: Alain Barr (racingpost.com/photos)
Wayward Chicquita dances to Classic victory
Report, Curragh, Saturday
Darley Irish Oaks (Group 1), 1m4f, 3yo fillies
CHICQUITA is a maiden no more after overcoming her wayward tendencies to land the Darley Irish Oaks by half a length.
Despite having not won on any of her previous three starts, the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained filly was only sent off a 9-2 chance for this race as she has been unlucky on both her outings this year.
Two runs ago she plunged into a hedge at Saint-Cloud when looking destined for a win before coming up against the smart Treve in the Prix de Diane last time.
On that occasion she managed to fill the runner-up spot even though she had drifted alarmingly across the track so it was no surprise to see her veering left under Johnny Murtagh in the closing stages of this race.
That manoeuvre caused the runner-up Venus De Milo to be slightly hampered and although there was a lengthy stewards' inquiry it came as no great surprise that the result remained unchanged.
"I think the other horse did not stop," said Royer-Dupre who was winning this for the second time having been successful with Shawanda in 2005.
"Although she had never won before this I knew she was a top filly. The Curragh is the right track for a filly like her with her long action and it was a good ride from Johnny Murtagh as she is not an easy ride."
Chicquita may not appear to be the most straightforward character on the course but her trainer is hoping that her idiosyncrasies will vanish.
"She is an easy horse to train - we never have any problems with her. We have to be careful with her on the racetrack. I don't want to put blinkers on her. I don't want to change anything. I hope she will learn more."
Looking to the future, he continued: "The main race for a filly like her is the Prix Vermeille and then maybe the Arc."
Riposte, the 9-4 favourite, looked like being a major player racing into the final furlong but could not get involved in the mix and finished three-quarters of a length behind the third Just Pretending. Talent never looked like repeating her Epsom exploits, the Oaks winner finishing last of the seven.