The Irish Oaks is one of the most prestigious Group 1 flat races on the Irish racing calendar and it is open to the very best three-year-old thoroughbred fillies.
Run each July over a distance of a mile-and-a-half at the Curragh Racecourse, the Irish Oaks is one of the five Irish Classic races and it is also Ireland's equivalent to The Oaks, which is held earlier in the year on UK soil at Epsom Racecourse.
There have been several winners of both the Irish Oaks and The Epsom Oaks in the same year, with Masaka first achieving the feat in 1948, while the most recent filly to claim both victories was Snowfall in 2021.
The Irish Oaks is traditionally held in July as part of The Curragh's Irish Oaks Weekend.
The 140th staging of the Irish Oaks will happen in 2024 and the Group 1 contest is due to be held on the first day of the race weekend on Saturday 20th July, 2024.
Since the race was first held in 1895, the Irish Oaks has always been staged at the Curragh Racecourse in County Kildare over a distance of a mile-and-a-half.
The famous Curragh is home to all five of Ireland's Classics and is the home of Flat racing on the Emerald Isle. In 1868 the Curragh was officially declared a horse racing and training facility by act of parliament.
The race will also be shown live on subscription channel Racing TV, while it is free-to-air on RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster.
Perhaps the most remarkable winner in recent times of the Irish Oaks was Enable in 2017, for trainer John Gosden with Frankie Dettori on board in the famous Juddmonte silks.
Enable won the Oaks' prizes at Chester, Epsom and York that same summer as well as the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. She also the landed the first of two Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe wins at Longchamp in that autumn of 2017.
It will come as no surprise to race fans that Aidan O'Brien figures at the top of the standings when it comes to the most successful trainer in the history of the Irish Oaks, with the Ballydoyle handler having won the race seven times.
O'Brien's first Irish Oaks success came with Alexandrova in 2006 and since then Peeping Fawn (2007), Moonstone (2008), Bracelet (2014), Seventh Heaven (2016), Snowfall (2021) and Savethelastdance in 2022 have all delivered for the man born in County Wexford.
Snowfall's success in 2021 saw O'Brien match the record for most wins for a trainer in the Irish Oaks, with Sir Michael Stoute having also reached that tally of six wins.
Stoute landed his first Irish Oaks with Fair Salinia in 1978 before adding victories with Colorspin (1986), Unite (1987), Melodist (1988) and Pure Grain (1995). His most recent success came with Petrushka in 2000.
One caveat to Stoute's tally is Melodist's victory was shared in a dead heat with Henry Cecil's Diminuendo in 1988, the only time in the race's history that such an event has occurred.
The most successful jockey in Irish Oaks history is Johnny Murtagh, who has crossed the line first on no fewer than six occasions.
Murtagh's first success came aboard Ebadiyla in 1997 and he followed that up 12 months later with Winona, with both those victories coming for trainer John Oxx.
The Irishman then teamed up with Stoute to secure his third victory on board Petrushka in 2000 before he added back-to-back successes with O'Brien when riding Peeping Fawn in 2007 and Moonstone in 2008.
Murtagh then secured his final Irish Oaks victory as a jockey with the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Chicquita in 2013 and although he has now hung up his saddle, the 53-year-old has embarked on a successful career as a trainer and he could therefore still add to his list of victories in the race.
Only one horse has ever run the Irish Oaks in a time of sub 2:28 and that was the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Shawanda, who blew away her rivals in 2005 to post a time of 2:27.10.
Jockey Christophe Soumillon steered Shawanda to that so far unbeatable time, as she unsurprisingly won the race by a comfortable five-length margin.
|Mahmood Al Zarooni
|Alain de Royer-Dupre
|Sea of Class