Irish Derby Preview
On the weekend of Newcastle Racecourse’s Northumberland Plate. There is Classic action in Ireland coming up on Saturday as the Irish Derby is up for decision at the Curragh. Aidan O'Brien has won the race a staggering 14 times and the Ballydoyle maestro will bid to extend that record by saddling only the fourth filly in 122 years to win an Irish Derby. A field of eight are set to slug it out for a top prize of €580,000 and there are excellent hopes travelling across from Britain to add spice to the Curragh mix.
Tuesday bids to headline another weekend
It has been 28 years since a filly – Salsabil under Willie Carson – became just the third female Irish Derby winner since 1900. Aidan O'Brien now relies on Epsom Oaks heroine Tuesday to make that four. The Galileo filly was just behind Discoveries in a maiden here last June over 7f, her only start at two years old.
A winner at Naas on her comeback, she then ran third and second in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas respectively in May, no match for Homeless Songs in the latter contest here.
At Epsom this month, the step up to this 1m4f trip brought a clear personal best as she held off the rallying Emily Upjohn in head-bobbing finish – perhaps a little fortuitously as the favourite was in front just before and just after the line.
That form has been franked by the third, Nashwa, winning a French Group 1 last weekend. The Epsom race did have the look of being something of a sprint finish, however, and the suspicion is that Tuesday will have to improve again to win this race against the colts.
Derby prize may go West
There are two British raiders in the field. David Menuisier sends over Lionel, winner of a Listed race at Goodwood over this trip on soft ground five weeks ago and open to further improvement after only three runs, but the top candidate looks to be WESTOVER for Ralph Beckett.
The Frankel colt is owned by Juddmonte and he was a luckless third in the Epsom Derby three weeks ago. Rob Hornby was forced to race on the rail from stall two that day and they just didn't get any breaks rounding Tattenham Corner to get out and challenge.
When they did, Westover powered home, just failing to get second spot. It's unlikely he'd have been good enough to topple impressive winner Desert Crown, but a clear second at Epsom might well have been the strongest form available coming into this race.
Hornby is unfortunate to miss out here, with connections electing to put three-time Irish champion Colin Keane on board now, owing to his vast experience of the Curragh.
O'Brien's hunt in packs
Both Joseph and Donnacha O'Brien bid to foil their father here. The former won this with Latrobe in 2019 and has Hannibal Barca in the mix now. The Zoffany colt was sold out of Brian Meehan's for 500,000 gns after showing up well in a Doncaster Group 1 as a juvenile.
He made the perfect start for his new trainer when landing a Group 3 here last month and is open to progress on his fourth start, a first at this trip. Donnacha saddles Piz Badile, the Ulysses colt having gone off well-fancied at Epsom after his Ballysax win at Leopardstown in April. He didn't appear to handle the track last time but it could be very different back on this conventional circuit.
Next Best: Hannibal Barca