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Blue Bunting - The Curragh 17.07.2011

Blue Bunting just gets up in Irish Oaks thriller

Report: Curragh, Sunday

Darley Irish Oaks (Group 1) 1m4f, fillies

BLUE BUNTING led for one stride in the Irish Oaks but it was the stride that mattered as she nailed Banimpire on the line in a desperately tight finish to the Curragh Classic.

Frankie Dettori was trapped without much room inside the final furlong but his mount stayed on powerfully to catch the ultra-tough Banimpire, who would not let Laughing Lashes and Wonder Of Wonders past.

With victory, Dettori helped atone for his ride on Blue Bunting in the Investec Oaks when he was caught out by the slow pace before dropping his hands on the line to lose third place.

Dettori was not in the mood for defeat on this occasion and switched his runner to the outside. She hit top gear and got her head in front just in time.

The winning rider admitted the race did not go to plan again and said: "It was a bit of mess [at Epsom]. I knew she had a great chance today but when I was stuck behind the other horses I was really struggling.

"As a last resort I switched to the outside and once she saw a bit of daylight, she picked up and it worked out well in the end."

He added: "I didn't know I had won until I passed the line. I had to ask Kevin [Manning on Banimpire]. The Yorkshire Oaks looks the obvious plan."

Blue Bunting and Frankie Dettori win the Darley Irish Oaks The Curragh 17.07.2011

Trademark celebration: Frankie Dettori dismounts from Blue Bunting

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Aidan O'Brien, Godolphin and Jim Bolger had all supplied pacemakers for the race in an attempt to ensure there was no repeat of the farcical scenes in the Oaks and they all tore off to have there own little battle.

The main bulk of the runners, led by Dancing Rain, reached the tiring trio turningfor home where Banimpire was squeezed for room between Blue Bunting and Dancing Rain.

However, Banimpire had already shown herself to be a filly of considerable grit and determination and gathered herself to take the lead from Dancing Rain a quarter of a mile from home.

She was challenged on her outside by Wonder Of Wonders and Laughing Lashes, whose jockey lost his whip in the closing exchanges, but neither could, or would, go past the Ribblesdale winner who only lost out in the final stride.

The victory was thefirst in the race for Godolphin and a second Classic of the season for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. Blue Bunting is 10-1 (from 25) with William Hill to give him a third Classic in the Ladbrokes St Leger.

He said: "It was a brilliant ride by Frankie. The pacemaker did a good job. I wasn't too confident coming here, we have a good filly but she was taking on top class ones. We'll look at the Yorkshire Oaks."

Of Banimpire, Bolger said: "It was very close and the ground possibly didn't help but she's run a good race."

O'Brien revealed that Ryan Moore felt the ground had gone against third placed favourite Wonder Of Wonders.

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