The Irish Derby (17.20 Curragh 25th June) is traditionally run 3-weeks after the Epsom Derby, and is run over the same distance of 12-furlongs as its English equivalent. As a classic, it is only open to 3-year-olds.
It was established in its present capacity in 1872, and in recent years it has been dominated by trainer Aidan O’Brien who has won 8 of the last 10 renewals, and 11 of the last 18 since he trained his first Irish Derby winner Desert King.
O’Brien’s last two winners Camelot and Australia were both completing the Epsom/Irish Derby double, and 5 of the 16 winners this century have matched that feat.
Aidan O’Brien trained colt who has won one of his five starts. Only second of six in a Listed Race on first attempt at 12-furlongs though, and may be one of several pace angles in race.
Same connections as Harzand, and was impressive winner at 12-furlongs before failing to stay two-miles when well-backed to win Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Plenty to find to take this.
Finished behind Harzand twice and Moonlight Magic once in his three runs this season, but looks just the type of horse with which Aidan O’Brien has won many Irish Derbys. However, he has just under 3-lengths to find with Harzand on their form in the Epsom Derby, but may like the better ground here.
Won the Derrinstown Derby trial over 10-furlongs with Idaho back in third, but didn’t seem to like Epsom or the soft ground there. Could bounce back on better ground at a more suitable course, but stamina is potentially still an issue.
Bustled-up Derby runner-up US Army Ranger in the Chester Vase, but set-off way to fast in the Epsom Derby, eventually paying the price as he faded to finish fourteenth.
Impressive winner of a couple of handicaps before running in the Epsom Derby. He finished a respectable sixth there, but there’s no obvious reason why he should beat either Harzand or Idaho this time.
Didn’t have the speed to even act as a pacemaker in the Epsom Derby, eventually finishing fifteenth, but he’s another possible pacemaker for the O’Brien team.
Appreciated stepping-up to 12-furlongs on his last two starts, which have resulted in a Maiden win and a handicap victory off a mark of 92. That still leaves him with loads to find, but is at least proven over course and distance.
Irish Derby Summary
The finish looks likely to be fought out between Epsom Derby first and third Harzand and Idaho, with the latter expected to get closer this time around, but Harzand is still fancied to prove superior. Moonlight Magic may also put-up an improved performance now returned to a more conventional track and better ground.