Sea Of Class has landed a thrilling last-stride victory in the Irish Oaks for jockey James Doyle and trainer William Haggas.
Doyle delivered the filly with an inch-perfect finish to foil Epsom Oaks winner Forever Together in the Classic at the Curragh on Saturday (Sunday AEST).
After two victories in Listed company, Sea Of Class (11-4) took the step up to the top level in her stride.
Bye Bye Baby, one of three Aidan O’Brien-trained runners in the seven-strong field, was soon in front and joined by stable companion Forever Together.
The latter took the lead before the turn for home in the hands of Donnacha O’Brien and set out to stretch the field and for a long way looked like completing the Oaks double.
Sea Of Class came from the rear once switched on for her run to ultimately cross the line a neck to the good.
It was a first Irish Oaks success for Haggas and for Doyle, who had two earlier Group race victories on the card with Marie’s Diamond and Larchmont Lad.
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“I did ask him (Doyle) to be brave, but I didn’t think he’d be that brave,” Haggas said.
“He took it up fairly close home, but he said she was on her game today.
“It’s a big race for us. We don’t come here very often. This is a very good filly and we know she’s a good filly, so you want it all to go right and it’s come right.
“James is in a rich vein of form at the moment, not only today, but he’s been riding very well all year.”
Doyle said he had confidence in the filly.
“I had full confidence in her. It was a great shout not to go for the (Epsom) Oaks, because it probably did come a little bit soon. She’s quite a late foal, so she’s done very well.
“She was the one coming in unproven. She’s shown today what she can do and it was just a joy to be part of.”
The winner ran in the Tsui family colours of her sire, the brilliant Sea The Stars.