Irish Derby Preview

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Our horse-racing tipster picks out two horses to look out for ahead of the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday.

Sovereign won the 2019 Irish Derby

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is the centrepiece race this weekend, with the ?435,000 first-prize contest going to post on Saturday evening at 7.15pm.

It has attracted a field of 15 contenders and the O’Brien family are, predictably, very much to the fore.

Aidan – seeking his 14th win in this race – saddles 40 per-cent of the line-up with six contenders while Joseph – trainer of the 2018 winner Latrobe – has the unbeaten Crossfirehurricane amongst his trio of contenders.

His bother Donnacha rode that winner for him two years ago and now saddles his first Derby runner in lively outsider Sherpa.

A fascinating contest is in store, and we aim to set the scene whilst providing some possible betting angles. Don’t forget, you can watch the Irish Derby from the Curragh – as well as every UK and Irish race – via live streaming when logged into MansionBet.

The market is headed by Santiago (3/1*), fresh from winning the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot eight days ago. He was dominant in that 1m6f soft-ground contest and his form with Coronation Stakes winner Alpine Star suggests he’s got a mix of speed and stamina, but the quick turnaround is something of a concern here.

Perhaps of more interest might be stablemate Arthur’s Kingdom, second to the impressive Pyledriver at Ascot and, crucially, with an extra three days recovery time under his belt. He sports first-time cheekpieces and is possibly going to have more to offer.

A Trainer for the Big Occasion

Joseph O’Brien has established himself as a trainer for the big occasion and he’s developed quite a habit of giving his father problems on these occasions.

His unbeaten Kitten’s Joy colt CROSSFIREHURRICANE (11/2) is fully expected to mount a bold bid here under Shane Crosse.

He was given a patient ride on his season bow in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at this track over a mile-and-a-quarter recently and made smooth progress to pick up the running at the furlong-pole. Having briefly wandered around, he was pushed out to see the job home and in essence, he won quite nicely.

He certainly looks very talented and the suggestion is that he will have no stress over this longer trip. His unbeaten record will be hard to take away as his trainer bids for a second Irish Derby in three years.

Don’t discount Donnacha’s claims here with Sherpa. He too was ridden out the back in the Gallinule and came through to challenge before meeting some traffic problems under Wayne Lordan and staying on well to be within two-lengths at the line. Billy Lee gets the leg up and while this is a tougher task, further improvement is likely to be forthcoming.

Splitting the pair that evening was the Jessica Harrington-trained Gold Maze, with Shane Foley’s mount a chance now. This race has so far eluded the great Moone-based trainer and seemingly her challenger will do well to get the better of those rivals now.

The Queen of Irish Racing

There’s certain to be plenty eyes drawn towards King Of The Throne after trainer Emmet Mullins booked none other than Rachel Blackmore for the ride. He is closely matched with Joseph O’Brien’s recent course maiden winner Galileo Chrome and may improve, but even a placed finish here would be a herculean effort from the Queen of Irish racing.

For an each-way play, some thought is due to Jim Bolger’s FISCAL RULES at 15/2. He was edged out on debut here last season by Wichita, that rival of course finishing second to Kameko in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket this month and third in a stunning renewal of the St James’s Palace at Ascot last weekend.

Further, Bolger’s charge shaped admirable well in the Irish Guineas this month when fifth behind Siskin; beaten only four-lengths. He promises to be much better stepped up to middle distances and could be a lively outsider for connections that won this race in 2013 with Trading Leather.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

Enda is a journalist who specialises in horse racing, especially the action in the UK and Ireland, and has shared his racing betting tips on a number of well-known publications and websites over the last 10 years.
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