The first of six challengers from the powerful Aidan O’Brien stable with the master of Ballydoyle looking to secure a 14th victory in the Irish Derby. ARTHUR’S KINGDOM is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his sire, Camelot who won this Classic for the trainer in 2012.
He has never finished outside the top two places and has a leading chance for jockey Wayne Lordan after his recent second on return in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Ger Lyons and his team are hoping finding Classic winners can be like waiting on buses, with two coming so quickly after Siskin’s success in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
CHIRICAHUA is another son of Camelot but remains a maiden having just two runs as a juvenile last season. He finished second on both starts at Navan and Naas and the step up in trip should suit, but he’s unlikely to trouble the leading contenders.
Joseph O’Brien won the Irish Derby twice as a jockey and once as a trainer so far in his young career, and runs three runners this Saturday evening. The unbeaten CROSSFIREHURRICANE with Shane Crosse in the saddle is a serious contender for this Classic and the only runner who remains unbeaten on the race track.
He progressed from winning a Limerick maiden on debut last June to winning the Patton Stakes at Dundalk and Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh earlier this month. The son of Kitten’s Joy is owned by breeder Scott Heider and will have no issues with the extra two-furlongs – it’s extremely hard to see him out of the places.
DAWN PATROL looks one of the Ballydoyle runners making up the numbers here with Ronan Whelan in the saddle for Aidan O’Brien. The son of Galileo finished fourth on debut behind Sunchart at Tipperary last October, before returning earlier this month to finish second when a beaten favourite behind Tiger Moth at Leopardstown.
He’s perhaps underpriced in the betting market in my opinion and a top six finish should please connections.
Jim Bolger first won the Irish Derby with St Jovite under Christy Roche in 1992 before landing his second Derby with Trading Leather in 2013. FISCAL RULES represents Bolger and jockey Kevin Manning this year and his challenge comes across as an enigma in my opinion.
The son of Make Believe remains a maiden after two starts, having finished second on debut behind Wichita last August and fifth more recently in the Irish 2000 Guineas. I would never begrudge anyone success, especially in a Classic but I can’t understand why this horse is so short in the betting when there’s three more serious contenders – place chance at best.
Edward Greatrex has not managed a win yet for Joseph O’Brien since making his move to Ireland, but it’s fantastic to see him secure a ride in an Irish Derby. GALILEO CHROME takes his chance for O’Brien, making his third career start following a maiden success here earlier this month.
The son of Australia managed to outfight fellow Derby rival King Of The Throne by a head in that maiden and a top seven finish would be a good result.
It’s hard to discount many runners from the Jessica Harrington stable this season and GOLD MAZE takes his chance for Harrington and jockey Dusty Foley in this Derby. The son of Golden Horn is another runner who remains a maiden following three career starts for connections.
He finished a decent third in the Beresford Stakes last September and wasn’t beaten too far behind Crossfirehurricane in the Gallinule Stakes, so he can’t be dismissed.
Despite six career starts and just one victory, IBERIA looks one of the Ballydoyle pacesetters with Mick Hussey in the saddle. He finished fifth behind Pinatubo in the National Stakes and was more recently third behind stablemate Cormorant in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial.
The blinkers remain on this Saturday evening, but ultimately like many others, looks a horse who could finish closer to last than first.
The rise and rise to stardom of Rachael Blackmore has been fantastic to see in recent years, but the ultimate achievement of winning an Irish Derby on KING OF THE THRONE would be even more of a shock than Sovereign’s victory last year.
The Emmet Mullins-trained runner was only beaten a head by Galileo Chrome at the Curragh and finished sixth behind Guineas winner Kameko at Newcastle last season. Hopefully, he runs well for connections.
Padriag Beggy is hoping to work his magic like 12 months ago on Sovereign and secure back-to-back wins in the Irish Derby with ORDER OF AUSTRALIA his ride this year for Aidan O’Brien. The son of Australia looks another horse making up the numbers for team Ballydoyle following two career starts.
He was fifth on debut behind stablemate Noble Prize at Naas last November, before finishing third to Tiger Moth at Leopardstown earlier this month.
The leading challenger for Aidan O’Brien with Seamie Heffernan looking for his fourth Irish Derby win following previous success with Soldier Of Fortune, Frozen Fire and Capri. SANTIAGO is the highest rated horse on 111 following his victory in the Queen’s Vase Stakes at Royal Ascot just eight days ago.
The quick turnaround and drop back in distance shouldn’t be any concern and he is the horse they all must beat. He finished second to Alpine Star at Galway last August with the Jessica Harrington-trained filly winning the Coronation Stakes last week in easy fashion.
Donnacha O’Brien trains SHERPA and hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father Aidan and brother Joseph by training an Irish Derby winner.
The Coolmore-owned runner wasn’t beaten too far behind Crossfirehurricane and Gold Maze in the Gallinule Stakes and might outrun his odds under jockey Billy Lee. He’s one not to rule out for a place.
Andrew Slattery has decided to take a chance with SUNCHART with Ben Coen booked on the Pat Garvey-owned runner. The trio attempted to reach for the stars in the Irish 2000 Guineas here with Rebel Tale and hopefully a good run from their challenger can be expected.
His form ties in with many Ballydoyle horses having finished second to Santiago in a Listowel maiden last September. He broke his own maiden at Tipperary in October and ran a creditable fifth of five runners in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopadstown.
TIGER MOTH is the final runner from the Aidan O’Brien team with Emmet McNamara in the saddle on what looks an unexposed contender.
The son of Galileo has only raced twice on track finishing third on debut to Ten Year Ticket at the Curragh last October, before winning a Leopardstown maiden earlier this month. He saw off fellow Derby hopefuls Dawn Patrol and Order Of Australia, and if finding more natural improvement, he could run a nice race.
Following previous spells with Kevin Prendergast and John Oxx, it’s nice to see jockey Declan McDonagh establish a new connection with Joseph O’Brien and he rides NEW YORK GIRL here for the young trainer.
The daughter of New Approach gets weight from the boys and might outrun her odds to finish among the top five or six. She broke her maiden at the Curragh on heavy ground last September and recently finished fourth to Peaceful in the Irish 1000 Guineas.
It’s hard to side against Aidan O’Brien in the Irish Derby, with the master of Ballydoyle looking for his 14th victory in this middle-distance Classic. Santiago looks a serious contender following his victory at Royal Ascot, but CROSSFIREHURRICANE gets the verdict to give young Shane Crosse a first Classic success.
This horse just keeps improving and can remain unbeaten for Joseph O’Brien – he travelled extremely well here 15-days ago to suggest the Derby trip will be no concern and he’ll fight out of the finish with Santiago and Arthur’s Kingdom.
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