Irish fillies dominate in G1 French Oaks

Irish-trained fillies have made a sweep of the French Oaks placings with Fancy Blue winning for rookie trainer Donnacha O'Brien.

FANCY BLUE winning the Prix De Diane at Chantilly in France.
FANCY BLUE winning the Prix De Diane at Chantilly in France. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

Donnacha O'Brien's Fancy Blue has led home an Irish one-two-three in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.

The former dual champion jockey only took out his training licence earlier this year, following in the footsteps of his father Aidan O'Brien - who completed the Derby and Oaks double at Epsom on Saturday - and his brother, Joseph.

Fancy Blue was a 13-2 shot to provide the 21-year-old fledgling trainer with a first Classic success in the French Oaks, having filled the runner-up spot behind his father's filly Peaceful in the Irish 1,000 Guineas three weeks ago.

The pair renewed rivalry in France - and were joined on the trip from Ireland by the Jessica Harrington-trained Alpine Star, who was the 6-4 favourite to follow up her triumph in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Drawn one, the latter made much of the running in the hands of Stephane Pasquier and did not go down without a fight, but Fancy Blue eventually wore her down under Pierre-Charles Boudot to claim a narrow victory.

Peaceful was just behind her compatriots in third.

"There's so much pressure and a lot of work goes into it, but this feeling is great and thank God she won," O'Brien said.

"I always knew she was a very good filly and we always thought the step up in trip would suit her. It definitely did.

"The home straight felt like a lifetime, I didn't really know what was going on. Thankfully at the end of it all she got her head in front.

"I was glad we didn't go to Epsom after what I saw yesterday. I would say Love is a fair machine. Thankfully we made the right call in sending her to France."