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Irish Derby Preview – Saturday 30th June

Last updated: June 28, 2018 by Leon Marshal

The big race in Europe this weekend is the Group 1 Irish Derby at the Curragh which is due off at 5.15pm on Saturday.

The race has been won by many famous names of the turf including Nijinsky (1970), Grundy (1975), Troy (1979), Shergar (1981), El Gran Senor (1984) and Galileo (2000). In recent years, the Irish Derby has been dominated by trainer Aidan O’Brien. He has saddled a record 12 winners including a run of seven successive seasons between 2006 and 2012. His most recent success came with Capri last year, defeating Cracksman and English Derby winner Wings of Eagles.

Horses galloping at the Irish Derby

Saxon Warrior odds-on favourite at the Curragh

O’Brien has several entries but all eyes will be on defeated Epsom Derby favourite Saxon Warrior. The son of Deep Impact had been a brilliant winner of the 2000 Guineas and was expected to improve further over the Derby distance. Being drawn on the inside meant that Ryan Moore found himself hemmed in on the rail turning for home. Saxon Warrior did not really quicken once he got a clear run and could only stay on into fourth place behind Masar.

No excuses have been offered for that defeat but O’Brien clearly feels he is capable of better. This flat galloping track should bring out the best in the colt and he has been installed odds-on favourite. A re-match with Derby winner Masar will not take place with that colt heading to Sandown for the Coral Eclipse Stakes. However, Saxon Warrior still faces a tough test against Epsom runner-up Dee Ex Bee.

Mark Johnston has supplemented the son of Farhh who posted a career best in the Derby. Connections had been optimistic of a bold run following his effort at Chester when second to Young Rascal. That tight circuit clearly did not suit Dee Ex Bee and he reversed the form emphatically at Epsom. Silvestre De Sousa retains the ride on Saturday. The one reservation for his supporters is the ground as the colt would prefer a little bit of cut.

Old Persian supplemented by Godolphin

Royal Ascot winner Old Persian has also been supplemented for the Curragh by Godolphin. He is a colt by Dubawi who galloped on relentlessly to hold Rostropovich in the King Edward VII Stakes. That was his first run over a mile and a half and his long range objective may be the St Leger. Charlie Appleby can do no wrong at present and William Buick will be in the saddle.

The runner-up is also declared to run on Saturday along with stable companion Delano Roosevelt. The latter started favourite at Royal Ascot but was always outpaced before staying on into fifth. He had finished sixth at Epsom and it would be no surprise to see him finish in the frame here.

Knight To Behold was a big disappointment in the Derby, fading rapidly to finish last but one. Harry Dunlop’s colt had beaten Kew Garden by three and a quarter lengths in the Lingfield Derby Trial. The runner-up lost a shoe that day so he may have been flattered by that victory. Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride Knight To Behold.

Joseph O’Brien runs Latrobe in the Melbourne Cup winning colours of Lloyd Williams. The Camelot colt got off the mark with a wide margin victory at the Curragh earlier this month. That was his first run over the Derby distance so there is plenty of scope for improvement. He had finished second to Platinum Warrior at the Curragh in May and that horse has also been supplemented. The grey was not far behind Delano Roosevelt at Leopardstown in the Derby Trial but may not have as much scope for improvement. .

A pack of horses at the Irish Derby

Irish Derby Betting Tips

Saxon Warrior @4-7 Betfred

The Irish Derby is due off at 5.15pm at the Curragh on Saturday 30th June and will be televised live on Attheraces.