Irish Oaks History

The CURRAGH, IRELAND - July 14: Kevin Manning and Margarula return after landing The Darley Irish oaks run at The Curragh Racecourse at The Curragh on July 14, 2002. (Photo by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)The Darley Irish Oaks is one of the five Irish Classic races, which also include the Irish Derby, the Irish 1000 Guineas, the Irish 2000 Guineas, and the Irish St Leger. The first event took place in 1895. The Darley Irish Oaks horse race was initially run over a distance of one mile, but in 1915, the race distance was changed to 1 mile, 4 furlongs.

Doubles in Irish Oaks History

Irish Oaks history has seen a total of nine fillies secure Oaks doubles, winning both the Epsom Oaks in England and the Irish Oaks of the same year.

The first filly to secure a double was Masaka, trained by Frank Butters in Britain, in 1948. Other fillies who have won both the Epsom and Irish Oaks include:

  • Altesse Royale (trained by Noel Murless), in 1971
  • Juliette Marny (trained by Jeremy Tree), in 1975
  • Fair Salinia (trained by Michael Stoute), in 1978
  • Unite (trained by Michael Stoute), in 1987
  • User Friendly (trained by Clive Brittain), in 1992
  • Ramruma (trained by Henry Cecil), in 1999
  • Ouija Board (trained by Ed Dunlop), in 2004
  • Alexandrova (trained by Aidan O’Brien), in 2006

Ouija Board went on to end the 2004 season by winning the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf – which she won again in 2006.

In 2006, Aiden O’Brien’s Alexandrova won the Epsom Oaks by an impressive six lengths. The horse went on to win the Irish Oaks by an effortless four lengths and then topped her performance by also winning the Yorkshire Oaks.

French Winners in Irish Oaks History

Although Irish and English-trained horses have dominated, Irish Oaks history includes some outstanding French-trained fillies. In 1950, Corejada became the first French-trained filly to win the Irish Oaks – and in fact to win in any Irish classic race.

A spectacular win by a French filly, Dahlia, came in 1973. Trained by Maurice Zilber, Dahlia took the Irish Oaks three lengths ahead of the much-championed Mysterious, who earlier had won the Epsom Oaks by a convincing four lengths. Just 12 days after winning the Irish Oaks, Dahlia went on to win the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes – a feat she repeated in 1974, when she also won the Man o’War Stakes at Belmont Park.

Notable recent wins by French fillies include the win by Wemyss Bight in 1993 and the 2005 win by Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Shawanda, who took the race by an easy five lengths.

Top Trainers and Jockeys in Irish Oaks History

Sir Michael Stoute holds the record for training the most Irish Oaks winners – with a total of six wins, including an Oaks double with Unite in 1987. In 2000, Stoute’s Petrushka won the Irish Oaks by an impressive five and a half lengths.

Jockey Johnny Murtagh is the most successful Irish Oaks jockey, with a total of five wins after the 2008 race. The combined efforts of Murtagh and trainer Aiden’O Brien saw them notch another victory at the 2008 Darley Irish Oaks with Moonstone. As well as riding Peeping Fawn to victory in 2007,  Johnny Murtagh won with Petrushka in 2000, with Ebadiyla in 1997 and with Winona in 1998.

Don’t miss the continuation of Darley Irish Oaks history at the Curragh Racecourse!