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Dettori strikes again as Star Catcher makes all

Star Catcher fully justified the decision to supplement her for the Kerrygold Irish Oaks by making all to land the Curragh Classic under an inspired ride from Frankie Dettori.

Star Catcher, photo Liesl King

The Ribblesdale Stakes winner, who was put in Saturday's race at a cost of €40,000 on Tuesday, held the challenge of Royal Ascot runner-up Fleeting by half a length and afterwards trainer John Gosden praised Dettori, owner Anthony Oppenheimer and, not least Star Catcher for providing him with his third Irish Oaks.

Gosden said: "Anthony was very brave when we discussed supplementing the filly and told me that if I was happy to go for it.

"It was the obvious race to run her in after her Ribblesdale win and we got the result we wanted. But I've said it before and I'll say it again – the Irish Classics close too soon."

Dettori, who was winning the race for the fifth time, was riding his eighth Group 1 winner in 51 days.

Gosden said: "When Frankie won on her at Royal Ascot he said the last furlong was her best so he was determined it wouldn't be a falsely run race.

"You leave things to Frankie and his tactics today were perfect. We're very lucky to have him.

"We knew Star Catcher had really done well since the Ribblesdale. She's very progressive and can only get better.

"We'll think about the Yorkshire Oaks although we also have Coronet, Lah Ti Dar, Anapurna and maybe Enable. We'll see how Star Catcher comes out of this race before making a plan. There's also the Vermeille to consider."

It was another masterclass in the saddle from the in-form Dettori, who said: "It was a matter of getting the fractions right and Fleeting came to me, but Star Catcher could have gone on again.

"She has done nothing but improve and John is a great trainer. We put our neck on the block in supplementing her, but we thought she was good enough."

Fleeting got a length closer to Star Catcher than she had at Royal Ascot and looked a big threat to the winner entering the final furlong after Dettori had driven Star Catcher clear early in the straight. However, she was held towards the finish.

Investec Oaks runner-up Pink Dogwood was sent off the 5-2 favourite but could make little impression in the closing stages and was four and a half lengths behind Fleeting in third place.

Dual Group 1 winner Iridessa, who had landed the Pretty Polly Stakes on her previous start, disappointed, finishing seventh of the eight runners.

Star Catcher, a 7-2 shot, was continuing Britain's dominance in the race. Runners trained in Britain have won eight of the last 11 renewals.

Gosden's previous winners of the race were Great Heavens in 2012 and Enable in 2017 while Dettori, who won on Enable, also landed the event on Lailani (2001), Vintage Tipple (2003) and Blue Bunting (2011).

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