Preview of Derby Day at The Curragh

By Luke 

Friday’s racing was a frustrating day, with six selections posted and four of those finishing second, the other two selections finishing third and fourth. Hopefully those seconds can turn to first on one of the biggest days of the Irish flat racing calendar.

Derby day gets underway with Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire Handicap over six furlongs. Castletownshend runs for Ted Walsh and Declan McDonogh takes the ride. While this will only be his second start in a handicap he is not short of racing experience, this will be tenth start. On his racecourse debut back in 2017 he finished second behind Nibiru, since then Nibiru has went down a different route and is jumping hurdles as a four year old. Castletownshend ran a nice handicap debut when finishing second behind Twenty Minutes at Naas. I think he will improve for the experience of the run in the handicap and will go close at 10/1.

Race two is the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Dash Stakes over six furlongs. Beckford represents Gordon Elliot with Colin Keane in the saddle. Beckford is a Group 1 placed two year on two occasions and won a Group 2 on his second start. He finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and spent time in the US after that. He then returned to Ireland in May when finishing down the field when needing the run. With the improvement for the run and the return to six furlongs I think he will go close at 6/1.

Race three is the Dubai Duty Free Finest Suprise Celebration Stakes over one mile. Old Glory was an expensive colt, this son of Frankel was bought for 1,600,000. While he hasn’t lived up to that price tag to date I think he will get his head infront here. He was last seen at Royal Ascot when finishing down the field in the Hampton Court over one mile and two furlongs. Prior to that he finished third at the Curragh in a Listed race over one mile and two furlongs when he didn’t truly see out the distance. He now drops back to a mile and I think he will win at 7/2.

Race four is the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Suprises International Stakes over one mile and two furlongs. Addeybb sets the standard but I’m not convinced he will enjoy the ground, he may be good enough to still win while not liking the ground. I think Blenheim Palace will run a good race. He was last seen finishing down the field in France when ensuring a strong pace. This brother to the classic winning Churchill showed promise in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial back in May. He only finished two and a half lengths behind Broome who ran a great race in what’s looks to be a good Derby. If he can bounce back to that form I think he will run well at 15/2.

Race five is the Dubai Duty Free The Irish Village Handicap over one mile. The Dermot Weld trained Jassaar looks to be a Group horse in a handicap. He was last seen winning a handicap at the Curragh beating Flight Risk. Since then Flight Risk has won a Listed race and a Group three both at Leopardstown. He know runs off a mark of 91 and I think he is well capable of winnning off that mark at 11/4.

Race six is the Group 2 Gain Railway Stakes over six furlongs for two year olds. This looks to be one of the best two year old races run this year with Ger Lyons’ Siskin clashing with the Aidan O’Brien trained Monarch Of Egypt who apparently had a setback and that’s why he didn’t make Royal Ascot. While it was always the plan for Siskin to skip Royal Ascot and come here for this race. Siskin has two runs under his belt with two wins. His last win was when winning impressively over course and distance in the Marble Hill Stakes back in May. Since then all the horses who finished behind him have came out and run good races at Royal Ascot. The horse who finished fifth, Southern Hills came out and won the Windsor Castle. He has more experience than Monarch Of Egypt and has had a better preparation. I think he will win with Colin Keane in the saddle at 11/8.

Race seven is the feature race of the meeting, the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby over one mile and four furlongs. Three of the first four home from the Epsom Derby will face each other again and there wasn’t much between them at Epsom. I think it will be the fairytale story for the Kevin Prendergast trained colt Madhmoon. He finished half a length behind Antony Van Dyck at Epsom when unlucky to stumble around four furlongs out. With such a close finish you have to think that stumble could have cost him the race. He is drawn in stall one which will lead to him being able to get plenty of cover when settling down in the early stages of the race. If he can get more luck in running I think he will reverse the form from Epsom and give 86 year old Kevin Prendergast a Derby winner at 9/4.

Race eight is the Dubai Duty Free Jumeirah Creekside Irish EBF Handicap over two miles. Tirmizi enjoyed the step up to two miles last time out at the Curragh. He ran a good race to finish second behind Dalton Highway when being collared late on. The third on that occasion was Kerosin, he has since ran an ok race at Royal Ascot to finish eleventh when getting tired over the longer trip. If Tirimizi can continue to improve for the step up in trip I think he will go close at 11/2.

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