Shawanda staked her claim for Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe glory by trouncing her rivals by 5L in the Group I Darley Irish Oaks at The Curragh on Sunday, with a performance her jockey Christophe Soumillon hailed as his easiest at the top level.
The Aga Khan's second Irish Oaks winner, and trainer Alain de Royer Dupre's first winner in Ireland, Shawanda’s performance was impressive in beating Playful Act and Mona Lisa, who was another 2 1/2L adrift in third.
Alain de Royer Dupre indicated that the Prix Vermeille is likely to be the next stop for the daughter of Sinndar who has now won four of her five races.
“It was just so easy, my easiest Group I winner. She was like a champion today. For a filly to do that in a race like this is amazing,” said Soumillon reported The Racing Post.
“When I let her go there was no need to push her, but it was a big race so I asked her. Then I saw on the big screen that we were well clear of the rest. She could have won by ten lengths instead of five,” he added.
The Aga Khan, previously successful in the race with Ebadiyla in 1997, said: 'Shawanda had never raced on good to firm ground until today. She is a very fine filly and comes from one of the best families I have.'
Shawanda went to the front with 400m to run and quickened clear to win easily from the Lancashire Oaks winner, Playful Act.
Shawanda has been installed as 7-1 joint third favourite with totesport for the Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe following her win.
Spokesman Damian Walker said: “This was a sensational performance and marks Shawanda down as a top-class filly. She must have a serious chance against the colts at Longchamp in October based on this effort.”
Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe
1m4f, Longchamp, Sunday, October 2nd 2005
3 Hurricane Run, 4 Motivator, 7 Shawanda (first show), Bago, Alkaased, 8 Grey Swallow, Scorpion, 10 Azamour, 14 Yeats, 20 Doyen, Eswarah, Policy Maker, 25 Fracissant, Quiff, Shirocco, Walk In The Park, 33 Cherry Mix, Day Flight, Gamut, Geordiland, Mubtaker, Phoenix Reach, Powerscourt.