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Pleascach lands Yorkshire Oaks in thrilling finish

20 Aug 2015

Jim Bolger won his second Yorkshire Oaks in 10 years, and third overall, as Pleascach overtook favourite Covert Love in the closing stages to land this year’s renewal at York.

Pleascach gets up late on to beat Irish Oaks winner Covert Love (image courtesy of

Irish 1000 Guineas winner Pleascach was making just her second start at 12 furlongs, having finished second to Curvy in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, but was able to overhaul fellow Irish classic winner Covert Love, who’d made most under Pat Smullen.

Indeed, it looked for a long way as though Smullen was going to nick the race on Irish Oaks winner Covert Love, the pair allowed to go at just a steady pace up front. Pleascach and Curvy were moved up early in the straight to challenge, forcing Smullen to race from a long way out. That seemed to prove crucial in the end, as Covert Love had seemed the likely winner until well inside the final furlong, when she hung left to the far-side rail.

At this point, Curvy and Pleascach came again, with French raider Sea Calisi also moving to challenge. With less than 50 yards to go, Pleascach got past Covert Love, who was beaten by a neck. The same margin saw Sea Calisi in third and she in turn was a head ahead of Curvy. Outsider Miss Marjurie was less than a length off the principals in fifth, but was never dangerous as she finished strongly on the far rail.

Immediately after the race jockey Kevin Manning was in a bullish mood. “She’s battled it out well, and at the line she’s actually going away. She’s done it very, very well.”

“I was a little disappointed with her last time. The Ribblesdale she’s ran alright behind Curvy, but I wasn’t that happy with her on the day, I thought she was a bit flat… I rode her out last week and I thought she was back to her very best.”

Bolger was keen to look to the future, nominating the Prix de L’Opera at Longchamp (which he won with Alexander Goldrun in 2004) as a target ahead of the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares.

When asked if he’d consider going for the bigger prize on the same day in Paris, Bolger responded “The Arc? Not this year.” That’s probably a wise choice, as Timeform are likely to rate Pleascach as still being quite a way off the required standard for the Arc, where she would meet with the likes of Treve and Golden Horn.