Nine Remain In Field For Irish Derby

Nine horses remain in contention to win Saturday’s historic 150th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh following this morning’s latest forfeit stage for the jewel in the crown of Irish racing. The high-class field includes two Classic winning fillies who will attempt to emulate 10 other fillies that have won the Irish Derby, the most recent being Balanchine in 1994. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has included Epsom Oaks heroine Qualfiy in the race, while Jim Bolger left in his Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Pleascach. The Curragh’s bookmaking partner Paddy Power make Epsom Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs the 8/11 favourite for the race as his trainer John Gosden looks to win it for the first time in his illustrious career. As well as the Epsom Oaks winner who has been included into the field, Saturday’s race is also set to feature the second, third and fourth placed horses from the Epsom Derby with the William Haggas-trained Storm The Stars looking like an intended runner and Giovanni Canaletto one of four possible representatives from Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle stable. O’Brien has also left in Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Highland Reel and Kilimanjaro. Dermot Weld’s unbeaten Aga Khan-owned colt Radanpour is also among the nine going forward for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby following his win in the King George Cup at Leopardstown and 1996 Irish Derby winning jockey, Pat Shanahan, will try to win the race as a trainer with Carbon Dating set to be his representative. Highland Reel is the current second favourite at 11/2 with Storm The Stars at 6/1 and looking forward to the race bookmaker Paddy Power said: “The ‘jolly’ looks worthy of his price after a tremendous effort in the English equivalent, but the race looks competitive enough with the third in that contest also set to run and the fourth very possible. “The place in the race offered by the Curragh to the winner of the English Oaks has also worked the oracle in no uncertain terms with Qualify set to tackle the colts.” Saturday’s Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes looks set to be a high-class renewal with eight juveniles standing their ground including Royal Ascot winner Washington DC for Aidan O’Brien, impressive Naas winner Argentero trained by Ger Lyons and Jessica Harrington’s course and distance winner Rockaway Valley. On Sunday, the Group 1 Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes is the feature race and it includes Newmarket 1,000 Guineas winner and Epsom Oaks runner-up Legatissimo. David Wachman’s stable star may take on Lanwades Stud Stakes winner and the unbeaten Brooch for Dermot Weld while Aidan O’Brien intends on running Diamondsandrubies who finished fourth behind her stable companion Qualify at Epsom. Pleascach is also among the 12 entries for the race. Aidan O’Brien said; “Diamondsandrubies ran a lovely race in Epsom. She got a little bit of a bump at a bad time in the Oaks there but she stayed on well to run a nice race and we’ve been happy with her since so she’ll go for Sunday’s Pretty Polly Stakes. We think she is a filly that is progressing well.” The Pretty Polly Stakes has gone for export for the last three years and there is a strong British challenge forming again this year with six entries coming from overseas including former Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Rizeena for Clive Brittain and Ralph Beckett’s recent Group 2 winner Secret Gesture. Interestingly, trainer Dermot Weld has left Forgotten Rules in Sunday’s Group 3 At The Races Curragh Cup after his fine effort to finish third in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week.