Tuesday 25 October 2016

epsom form to the fore

John Gosden is due to saddle the odds-on favourite in the 150th running of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby as he bids to win the race for a first time with Epsom Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs.

Epsom form is going to be to the fore for the Curragh showpiece on Saturday with the second, third and fourth place horses from the Epsom Derby all due to be among tomorrow morning's declarations for the race, along with Epsom Oaks heroine Qualify for trainer Aidan O'Brien.

Jack Hobbs was second to his stable companion Golden Horn in the Epsom Classic earlier in the month and behind him was the William Haggas-trained Storm The Stars and fourth placed Giovanni Canaletto, who are all due to renew their rivalry.

The David Wachman-trained Curvy was expected to possibly take up her free entry in the Irish Derby for winning the Gallinule Stakes earlier in the season but last week's Ribblesdale Stakes winner is set to have a longer rest after her Royal Ascot-winning exploits and she could now be set for a tilt at the Irish Oaks next month.

Jim Bolger's Irish 1,000 Guineas winner Pleascach was expected to go straight from her Classic win to the Irish Derby, but Bolger stepped her up in trip against Curvy last week where she finished second. She is still among the Irish Derby field, although she does also hold an entry in Sunday's Group One Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes.

English 1,000 Guineas winner Legatissimo looks likely to take on her elders for the first time and drop back in trip for Sunday's feature race at HQ following her narrow defeat to Qualify in the Epsom Oaks.

Wachman had also considered a tilt at the Irish Derby for the daughter of Danehill Dancer but she looks set to run in the 1m2f contest, which is for fillies only instead, after being taken out of Saturday's race.

Curragh Racecourse manager Paul Hensey is delighted with the entries that were revealed yesterday.

"We are very happy with the field for Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and it looks set to be a super race and fitting for the 150th renewal of the race. Fingers crossed they all turn up in the Derby and it looks like being a very wide open race this year.

"Sunday's Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes looks like being the best race for fillies run in Europe so far this year and it's right out of the top drawer, so that is a real highlight for Sunday. The ground at the moment here at the Curragh is good to firm and we are continuing to water with 8mm going on today. The forecast is more changeable for the second half of the week so we'll continue to monitor it."

One horse that does stand out amongst the weekend entries is the Dermot Weld-trained Forgotten Rules, who remains in Sunday's Group Three At The Races Curragh Cup despite finishing third in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week.

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