The Irish Derby completes the important triumvirate of European Derby’s to be run and with Classic form so crucial it’s no surprise that the English and French Derby’s are massively influential in the outcome of the race at the Curragh. The only winner in the last decade not to have lined up at either Epsom or Chantilly was Grey Swallow – he finished third in an Irish 2000 Guineas.
Plenty of horses have bounced back from unplaced efforts in a Derby, Cape Blanco, Frozen Fire and Soldier Of Fortune amongst them. Placed horses from Epsom have won at the Curragh in the past but rarely when reopposed by the winner so the absence of Pour Moi is very much a plus point for the likes of Treasure Beach and Carlton House. With the French race now reduced in distance to 10F the Epsom version of the race remains the key trial and those thinking of placing a horseracing bet should remember this.
With seven Irish Derby victories in the past ten years the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien clearly has a stranglehold on the race and he will be looking for his sixth consecutive victory in the race this year. Last year Cape Blanco’s win gave him the five-in-a-row making him the first trainer in history to win any of the Irish Classics five times in succession.
O’Brien is sure to be giving this race a good go again with four of the current nine entries. Three of those locked horns with The Queen’s horse Carlton House at Epsom with Treasure Beach looking the likely winner until he was pounced on close home by Pour Moi, Carlton House finishing back in third.
If Carlton House is to reverse the form with Treasure Beach and become the first British-trained winner of the race since Balanchine in 1994 he will need a better passage than he got at Epsom and his trainer Sir Michael Stoute will need to regain his glory years in the race which he won three times in the 1980s with Shergar, Shareef Dancer and Shahrastani. The horse betting suggests he has every chance of doing so.
It wouldn’t be a great surprise to see Carlton House and Treasure Beach battling out the finish as they are sure to be dominating events towards the head of the market and although Frozen Fire was a 16-1 winner in 2008, the market leaders have generally dominated. Only two of the last ten winners have been returned at greater odds than 5-1.The Irish Derby is the final big Derby of the season but it should be a fascinating contest where Epsom form is once again expected to dominate, whether it will be upheld is another matter.