The five fastest winners of the Irish Oaks

The Group One Irish Oaks has seen many swift three-year-old fillies tackle the famous Curragh track.

As Snowfall goes for an English and Irish Oaks double this Saturday (3.25), Planet Sport looks at five fleet-footed runners who have turned on the afterburners for the big race.

Alexandrova (2006)

Time: 2.29.60

Aidan O'Brien's Oaks specialist Alexandrova swept the board in top-class fillies' contests in the summer of 2006.

This daughter of Sadler's Wells cruised to a six length victory in the Epsom Oaks and then headed to the Curragh as 8/15 favourite.

Held up ominously at the back of the select six horse field, Kieran Fallon loomed in the dark navy silks on Alexandrova and made swift headway from two furlongs out in the Irish Oaks.

The masterful Fallon spotted a gap near the rails, switched Alexandrova inside and didn't raise the whip as O'Brien's beautiful filly ran on to a four lengths win from Scottish Stage.

Alexandrova went on to win the Yorkshire Oaks to seal the Oaks hat-trick but her performance on home turf and Irish Oaks time of 2.29.60 was something special.

Princess Pati (1984)

Time: 2.28.60

Princess Pati had a right royal job on her hands winning the 1984 Irish Oaks as she faced off against the Epsom Oaks winner Circus Plume ridden by none other than Lester Piggott.

But Princess Pati had put in a good looking performance in winning the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh so attacked the Irish Oaks with confidence.

With Piggott banking on a late surge, 21-year-old Irish jockey Pat Shanahan made all the running on the Con Collins' filly and just kept on finding bursts of speed to keep his opponents at bay.

Princess Pati prevailed by two lengths and in a smart time of 2.28.60 which was fast for the standards of the mid 1980's.

Shanahan had broken the race record and beaten his hero Piggott in one afternoon. "It was good looking back to see HIM behind you!" Shanahan told independent.ie.

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Vintage Tipple (2003)

Time: 2.28.30

Talk about a fairytale for the then 84-year-old trainer Paddy Mullins, best known for sending the great Dawn Run to win a Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Few saw his 2003 Irish Oaks entry Vintage Tipple as anything other than a plucky outsider as Mullins had not won a Group One flat race since 1973.

Bought for just €16000, Vintage Tipple did, at least, have Frankie Dettori on her back as she set about toppling the might of the Ballydoyle operation who saddled 11/8 favourite Yesterday.

It was Aidan O'Brien's pacemaker L'Ancresse who looked the likeliest winner at the two furlong pole with Dettori having to make up a good three lengths on the leader at one furlong out. But Vintage Tipple stayed on strongly to set off celebrations where more than a wee dram was sunk as Mullins' 14/1 chance prevailed by one and half lengths.

Top national hunt trainer Willie Mullins', son of Vintage Tipple's Paddy, has had a few winners crossing codes to the flat himself but will do well to win a classic like his dad and in such an impressive time as 2.28.30.

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Ouija Board (2004)

Time: 2.28.20

There was no black magic at play for Ouija Board's success, just a seriously talented filly and a spellbindingly good trainer in Ed Dunlop.

Ouija Board scooped up Group One's like she gobbled up grass in the paddocks and she came to the 2004 Irish Oaks on the back of a seven lengths win in the Epsom version.

On good to firm ground at the Curragh, everything was set for a hauntingly fast run from Ouija Board and she didn't disappoint.

Kieron Fallon had the luxury of sitting midfield for most of the race, knowing Ouija Board had the finishing speed to burn off her opponents. At one and half furlongs out, Ouija Board toyed with Punctilious for before skipping on to a length victory.

Ouija Board went on to a pair of Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turfs but her Irish Oaks time of 2.28.20 still stands as the second fastest to this day.

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Shawanda (2005)

Time: 2.27.10

The winner of the Prix de la Seine at Longchamp in her third start, Shawanda made waves in Paris and was sent to the Curragh to take on the Irish Oaks in 2005.

Bred and owned by the Aga Khan, there was good reason behind market support for the 9/2 shot over the one mile four furlong Oaks course.

But there was plenty of decent opposition for the Alain de Royer-Dupre filly in Luca Cumani's 4/1 favourite Dash To The Top and John Gosden's Playful Act.

Belgian jockey Cristophe Soumillon tracked the leaders in fifth, before quickening clear at the two furlong pole and flashing to a five length win from Playful Act in second.

The finish was completed so swiftly that it took a while to register that Shawanda had smashed the race record by over a second.

Shawanda went on to a solid sixth in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe but it was her Oaks performance, in obliterating her fellow fillies, that will live long in the memory.

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