THE queen's Carlton House headed the nine colts left in Sunday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the latest forfeit stage yesterday, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Recital the only notable absentee.
O'Brien had hoped to leave all four of his Epsom Derby challengers in the Irish equivalent but after not being satisfied with the Leopardstown Derby Trial winner Recital yesterday morning, he was withdrawn, with Irish 2000 Guineas winner Roderic O'Connor left in instead.
Ann Marie O'Brien revealed on Twitter yesterday: “We weren't 100 per cent happy with Recital this morning so he will not run in the Derby on Sunday.
“Roderic O'Connor will be left in the race and is a possible to run instead.”
A definite decision on Carlton House's participation is still unconfirmed although it would appear likely that the Michael Stoutetrained colt will make the line up on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester United striker and racehorse owner Michael Owen had toyed with the idea of supplementing his Royal Ascot winner, Brown Panther, but opted against a quick reappearance with the German Derby next weekend preferred.
Owen tweeted yesterday morning; “Restless 24 hours. Been seriously thinking of supplementing Brown Panther for the Irish Derby on Sunday. Decided against it in the end. Only 9 days after Ascot could be asking too much. German Derby the following week is a possibility.”
The Ed Dunlop-trained Native Khan was among the nine left in and along with the O'Brien crew and Carlton House, the potential field is completed by a possible first Derby runner for Paul Deegan’s Curragh-trained Best Hello, the Kevin Prendergast-trained Dunboyne Express and Dermot Weld's Notable Graduate.
Elsewhere, Snow Fairy remains on course to make her seasonal reappearance in the Stobart Ireland Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday and is due to leave for Ireland tomorrow after working well yesterday morning.
However, connections will be keeping a close eye on the weather to see if further rain will leave the ground too soft for Ed Dunlop's charge and therefore force him to bring her to France for the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud instead on Sunday.
“She is in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud just in case as a contingency plan but after talking with connections this morning the plan is to head to Ireland,” Dunlop said.
Meanwhile, at Naas tonight Johnny Murtagh could yet again be in for a good evening as he has three really strong chances, the best of which comes in the feature Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Race where he will partner Haziyna.
The 97-rated filly is receiving weight from all four of her rivals and she is the pick over season debutant Rising Wind who will be back winning before long for Kevin Prendergast.
Prior to that race in the Siteservpic Supporting Aware Handicap Murtagh gets a more tentative selection as he teams up with Takashi Kodama to ride Awareness who runs in her first handicap and carries the colours of Murtagh's wife, Orla.
After a few good runs in handicaps, the daughter of Aussie Rules should be able to run a good race at a price.