Anthony Van Dyck, Madhmoon and Broome will all renew rivalry in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh on Saturday (5.20pm) with the three confirmed among the eight runners for the 154th running of the country’s premier classic.
Aidan O’Brien, who has five horses in the field, will be bidding to make it 13 victories in the race while Kevin Prendergast is chasing a first win in the race with Madhmoon (Chris Hayes)who came so close to pulling off a fairytale success when second to Anthony Van Dyck on Epsom Downs last month.
Curragh-based legend Prendergast came closest to Irish Derby success when Ragapan finished second to Weaver’s Hall in 1973 and he reports his latest challenger for the race to be in excellent shape.
“He just got nailed at Epsom but hopefully we can supplement it with an Irish Derby on Saturday. He’s a good horse, he’s got a good chance. Hopefully he will run as well as he did at Epsom and he might get a good result on Saturday. He’s bombing, he couldn’t be better, he’s in good nick and should run a good race. With a bit of luck on his side he might get the nod,” added Prendergast.
This year’s Epsom Derby-winning trainer Aidan O’Brien reports his strong team to be in good shape for a race run over what he described as probably the fairest mile and a half in the world.
After his heroics at Epsom Anthony Van Dyck will head the Ballydoyle trainer’s team for what will be the twelfth running of the race under the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby banner. O’Brien will also rely on Broome (Donnacha O’Brien), Il Paradiso (Wayne Lordan), Norway (Séamie Heffernan), and Sovereign (Pádraig Beggy).
“All the horses came out of Epsom in good form. Anthony Van Dyck came out of Epsom very well and everything is good with him so we’re looking forward to Saturday,” commented O’Brien who also indicated that Ryan Moore would take over from Séamus Heffernan on Anthony Van Dyck, as the English-born rider seeks his first win in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
Jim Bolger’s Silver Stakes winner Guaranteed (Kevin Manning) and the Dermot Weld-trained Rakan (Jim Crowley), who defeated the subsequent Royal Ascot runner-up Barbados in the King George V Cup at Leopardstown recently, and Joseph O’Brien’s Gallinule runner-up Buckhurst complete the entries for the €1,500,000 feature race.