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Curragh team expect improvement

Curragh manager Paul Hensey is anticipating soft ground for this weekend's Darley Irish Oaks meeting.

The fillies' Classic takes centre stage on Sunday with the likes of Aidan O'Brien's Epsom winner Was and runner-up Shirocco Star, as well as the John Gosden-trained Great Heavens, amongst the entries.

Further rain at the track has seen the ground turn heavy, but Hensey is expecting conditions to improve as better weather is forecast.

"We had 5.5 millimetres of rain last night so we have changed the ground to heavy this morning," he told At The Races on Wednesday morning.

"The forecast is for better weather from now until the weekend so hopefully we will get some good weather and the ground will improve.

"I think the likelihood is that we will possibly be on soft ground."

Eleven fillies are in contention for the Group One event, but Hensey believes the quality of the field more than compensates for volume of runners.

"Numerically it probably won't be as a big a race for the Oaks as we've had in the past, but this race has always been of the highest quality," he said.

"If you look back over the years, we have had all the very best fillies in Europe to run in it and it must be one of the best fillies' races in Europe over the years. I think it's a good renewal this year.

"There's the first and second from the Epsom Oaks still in, Princess Highway is very, very highly thought of by Dermot Weld and I think the one to watch is Great Heavens, who was supplemented. She's proven on that ground, she won the Lancashire Oaks and is a very good filly with a good pedigree."

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