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Talent favourite for Irish Oaks

Epsom Oaks winner Talent has been confirmed a definite starter in the Irish equivalent on Saturday and Jim Crowley takes the ride. Robert Hughes rode the filly at Epsom with Crowley preferring the chances of runner-up Secret Gesture.

Trainer Ralph Beckett was keen to stress that Secret Gesture, currently priced at 4-1, is by no means a certain runner this weekend. She could well be diverted to the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood or possibly the German Oaks.

The Epsom form has not been upheld with the third and fourth both having been well beaten since. Should Secret Gesture be allowed to take her chance, she will be partnered by Jamie Spencer who is the retained rider for owners Qatar Racing.

Riposte and Venus De Milo have both been supplemented for the race at a cost of 40,000 euros apiece. Riposte provided Lady Cecil with an emotional success when winning the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot shortly after the death of her husband, Sir Henry.

Venus De Milo won impressively at Naas last month and is one of four entries from the powerful Aidan O’Brien stable. The Ballydoyle trainer still has Just Pretending, Magical Dream and Say entered in the race.

Venus De Milo is unbeaten in two starts whilst Just Pretending finished second to Riposte at Ascot. The home defence also includes the widely touted Alive Alive Oh who has missed a couple of recent engagements due to the fast ground and being in season.

Alain de Royer-Dupre has booked Johnny Murtagh to ride French raider Chicquita, runner-up to Treve in the Prix de Diane last month. Murtagh has won the Oaks a record five times whilst Royer-Dupre was successful with Shawanda in 2005.

Clive Brittain has left Masarah in the field and David Simcock may give Miss You Too another shot at a classic after finishing sixth at Epsom. Jim Bolger’s Scintillula and John Oxx’s Tarana complete the thirteen entries with the race due off at 6.15pm on Saturday.