First run in 1866, the Irish Derby is a Group 1 contest ran over 1 mile 4 furlongs at the Curragh. It’s the Irish equivalent to the English Derby and Orby was the first horse to compete the English/Irish Derby double back in 1907.
Eighteen horses have completed the derby double, with Harzand the most recent to do so in 2016. Unfortunately, there will be no derby double winner this year as we don’t have this year’s Derby winner Masar in the field
Thankfully we have the next best thing, in the form of the 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior. The impeccably bred son of Deep Impact came into the Derby with a huge reputation having defended his unbeaten record in 2000 Guineas but he could only finish 4th behind Masar in the Epsom showpiece.
He has the best form in the race and with Aidan O’Brien having won nine of the last twelve renewals of the Irish Derby, Saxon Warrior looks like a strong candidate to make it ten from thirteen.
Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee, a son of Farhh doesn’t know how to run a bad race and has just kept improving this season. He may have only won a maiden and a conditions race from six career starts but on his last two runs, he was third in the Group 3 Chester Vase and then ran a blinder to finish 2nd in the Epsom Derby beating Saxon Warrior.
I’d expect Dee Ex Bee to appreciate the Curragh more than Chester and Epsom as it suits a galloper which he undoubtedly is. It’s also quite telling that the owners have stumped up the €100,000 supplementary fee for the race.
“We had a bumper run in May and it’s carried forward into June. The horses are flying high at the moment, so let’s hope it continues until Saturday and beyond”.
Another horse that has been supplemented is the Royal Ascot winner Old Persian, who won the King Edward VII Stakes last week and will only have an eight-day turnaround. Charlie Appleby doesn’t seem overly concerned saying:
“He’s eaten up and exercised well. He bounces back from his runs very quickly, and we are confident we can come to the Curragh at the weekend with a horse that is going to be very competitive”.
Platinum Warrior is the opposite of his two rivals above, he got a free entry into the Derby following his victory in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh in May. Michael Halford can’t wait to run his son of Galileo in this classic event.
Halford said during the week:
“He’s getting stronger and tougher with each run and is on an upward curve, Shane (Foley) thought he travelled really well through the race the last day and just idled a bit”.
The final horse to note in the race is the Joseph O’Brien trained Latrobe, who was runner-up to Platinum Warrior in the Gallinule. It has taken Latrobe four runs to shed his maiden tag but he was runner-up to some quality colts along the way, including a neck defeat to the now Royal Ascot winning Hunting Horn.
The son of Camelot looks the type to improve with every run and following a confidence-boosting six and a half-length victory at the Curragh on his final start, I expect Latrobe to far outrun his current odds of 25/1 and land a classic victory for Joseph O’Brien.
It looks like Donnacha O’Brien looks set to partner Latrobe for his brother Joseph.