Irish Oaks second and third Cayenne Pepper and Passion renew rivalry in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Give Thanks Stakes at Cork.
Jessica Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper was a hot favourite for last month’s Curragh Classic, having chased home the top-class older filly Magical in the Pretty Polly Stakes on her previous start.
The daughter of Australia ultimately had to make do with the runner-up spot behind the Ger Lyons-trained Even So, with Passion faring best of Aidan O’Brien’s four runners in finishing third.
O’Brien also saddles the improving Elizabethofaragon in Saturday’s Group Three contest, which he is bidding to win for a sixth time.
Paddy Twomey is hoping for a bold showing from course winner Loveisthehigherlaw, who finished a close third in the Noblesse Stakes at Leopardstown on her first start of 2020, before occupying the same finishing position in the Munster Oaks over this course and distance.
Twomey said: “It looks a tough race for a Group Three – I think it’s a very good renewal, with a couple of Irish Oaks-placed fillies in it.
“Our filly is in good order. She’s run well in the Noblesse and the Munster Oaks and we’ve had our eye on this race for a while.
“She likes the track and I think she’s improved since her last couple of runs.”
Dermot Weld has won the Give Thanks Stakes on a record six occasions and this year relies on defending champion Tarnawa, who has been off the track since finishing down the field on Champions Day at Ascot last October.
Other contenders include Joseph O’Brien’s trio of Bolleville, Snapraeceps and Traisha.
Listed honours are up for grabs in the seven-furlong Platinum Stakes.
Likely candidates for this event include Ken Condon’s Could Be King, Ado McGuinness’ recent Galway Festival scorer Current Option and the Twomey-trained Silk Forest.
Silk Forest has run creditably in defeat in the Lanwades Stud Stakes at the Curragh and the Brownstown Stakes at Cork on her last couple of appearances.
“She’s in good form and is coming down to a Listed race after a couple of runs in Group company,” Twomey added.
“She ran well at the track last time and I hope she’ll run well again.”