Racing: Sheikh Hamdan delays Irish Oaks decision

LEADING owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum will wait until later in the week before deciding whether to let star fillies Taghrooda and Tarfasha lock horns for a second time in Saturday’s Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh.

Taghrooda may be going for an Anglo-Irish Oaks double at the Curragh this weekend after winning at Epsom in June. Picture: Getty

The John Gosden-trained Taghrooda got the better of Dermot Weld’s Tarfasha in the Investec Oaks at Epsom in early June and both are among 15 horses still in contention for this weekend’s Group 1 feature.

Asked whether both fillies could run, Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager Angus Gold said: “I honestly don’t know and as is always the case, those decisions will be made by Sheikh Hamdan. Both fillies have been left in at this stage and we’ll make a decision on running plans later in the week. Both trainers are keen to run and tell me their fillies are in good form, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

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Aidan O’Brien has saddled three previous Irish Oaks winners and is mob-handed this time around, with Ribblesdale Stakes heroine Bracelet joined by five stable companions in Beyond Brilliance, Just Gorgeous, Marvellous, Palace and Tapestry. Taghrooda is not the only potential British challenger, with Luca Cumani’s Volume, the Mick Channon-trained Nancy From Nairobi and Richard Hannon’s Lustrous also in contention. Weld has also left in Vote Often.

Meanwhile, Contributer has been sold privately following his victory in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot. The four-year-old colt is now under Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley banner, after catching their eye with his Listed victory in owner George Bolton’s colours when in the care of trainer Ed Dunlop.

“He’s been sold privately to Sheikh Mohammed and Darley. I don’t know where he’s going,” said Dunlop.

• Dr Jerry Hill, sports physician at the 2012 London Olympics, has been appointed as chief medical advisor for the British Horseracing Authority.

Hill is senior racecourse medical officer at Lingfield and a member of the Football Association medical committee.

The 49-year-old replaces Dr Michael Turner, who stood down in January while Dr Guy Staight looked after the role in the interim.

Dr Hill said: “I look forward to working in a collaborative way with colleagues from all areas of the racing community, to build upon the ground-breaking work of my predecessor.

“With the aim of delivering optimum care to the jockeys at all stages of their careers, I am keen to identify relevant best practice in our sport, and in trauma, general and sports medicine by consulting widely both in and outside of racing.”