Séamie Heffernan, who won his fourth Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with the victory of Santiago on Saturday evening, was full of praise for the recent Queen’s Vase winner, stating:

“He’s a tough horse – a mile and six (in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot) back to a mile and a half in the Curragh really suited me. I was always comfortable. I would have liked to have had a better draw and a cleaner slot, but it worked out.”

The 47-year-old Ballydoyle jockey continued:

“It wasn’t an ideal draw and I took a gamble in dropping him in, but if you go forward and you get trapped wide he’s a horse that gets competitive. He wants to go and race and win.”

MV Magnier, son of Coolmore supremo John, spoke of the significance of winning the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby from a breeding viewpoint:

“The Irish Derby is the pinnacle of Irish racing. It is a stallion-making race and many great champions have won it over the years.”

The winning handler, Aidan O’Brien, who claimed his 14th win in The Curragh classic, said he believed the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby winner was a likely St Leger horse:

“We’re delighted. He’s a lovely horse. We thought he would be a Leger horse we were going to look forward to next year. A lovely, clean-winded, honest horse. The St Leger looks a lovely race for him. We think he will be a lovely Cup horse next year but he has plenty class and travels well.”

The Wexford-native was also delighted with the performance of the runner-up and third-placed horses, saying:

“They are two lovely horses (Tiger Moth and Dawn Patrol) and are two babies, they are progressing. In a month’s time they will be even better we think.”

Image of Santiago and Séamie Heffernan by Patrick McCann/Racing Post, provided by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI).

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