ELEVEN horses have been left in Saturday’s Group One Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh following today’s final entry stage. As expected Epsom Derby hero Australia and runner-up Kingston Hill dominate proceedings with the former expected to go off a raging hot odds on favourite to give his trainer Aidan O’Brien his record 11th success in the race. Apart from Australia, O’Brien has also left Geoffrey Chaucer, Kingfisher, Meekong River, Orchestra, Table Rock and War Command in the race.
“Australia is in good form and remains on course for Saturday’s race,” said a Ballydoyle spokesman this morning. “The chances are we will run three or four in the race.”
Kingston Hill ran a smashing race at Epsom and his trainer Roger Varian reported recently that his colt will be more suited to the Curragh. However, Varian also said that Kingston Hill needs a bit of cut in the ground and he is hopeful that the forecast rain on Thursday and Friday is sufficient to allow the horse take his chance.
True Story flopped when only seventh behind Australia at Epsom, but the Saeed Bin Suroor looked all at sea on the track that afternoon and is surely a lot better than that. He has reportedly worked very well in a visor at home since his Epsom adventure and will be fitted with that piece of equipment in Saturday’s contest.
Fascinating Rock was one place behind True Story at Epsom and just like that colt, he too was completely unsuited by the track and is expected to do a lot better at the weekend. “Fascinating Rock has done really well since Epsom,” commented his Curragh-based trainer Dermot Weld recently. “The horse just didn’t handle the track that day and we expect a better showing from him on Saturday.”
Ponfeigh will represent another local trainer in John Oxx, who has won the race twice in the past with Sinndar (2000) and Alamshar (2003). “Ponfeigh has had two quick runs but he is in good order and will take his chance in Saturday’s race,” commented John Oxx today. “We have always liked this horse and he has a nice turn of foot. Obviously the step up in grade and trip is unknown territory for him but on form he is entitled to take his chance.”
Australia has been installed the 1/3 favourite by bookmakers Paddy Power, who then go 3/1 Kingston Hill, 8/1 True Story, 14/1 Fascinating Rock, 16/1 Geoffrey Chaucer and Ponfeigh, 20/1 War Command and Orchestra, 40/1 Meekong River, 50/1 Kingfisher and 66/1 Table Rock.
The Curragh ground is currently good to firm and light watering recommenced today.
Notes to editor
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival 27th to 29th June 2014
Friday 27th June
DoneDeal Derby Friday Hoedown 1st of 7 races 5.25pm . Concert after racing by country music star Nathan Carter
Champion Jockey Joseph O’Brien will be joined by Pat Smullen, Wayne Lordan, Gary Carroll, Leigh Roche and Billy Lee in the first Paddy Power Zorb Derby taking place. Guest commentator Hector OhEoghagain will direct proceedings with the relay race taking place over 120m on the racetrack in front of the grandstand. A Zorb ball is a huge inflatable ball which allows people to move freely inside. Competitors will reach up to 25mph in a hilarious and exhilarating rolling experience
Saturday 28th June
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day 1st race 3.10pm featuring 8 races with last race at 7.15pm
TV personality and style icon Millie Mackintosh is the official style ambassador for the 2014 festival and will form part of the judging panel to seek out the most stylish lady competition. She will be joined by Melanie Morris of Image publications and Stacey O’Donnell of Brown Thomas
Prize: This year’s Most Stylish Lady prize is worth almost €20,000 and will see the winner walk away with a holiday of a lifetime to Dubai, courtesy of Dubai Duty Free. The winner will spend five glorious nights in Dubai Duty Free’s own, 5 star hotel, The Jumeirah Creekside. The prize also includes return flights and €1,000 to spend at the multi award winning Dubai Duty Free. The winner also receives a spectacular 18 carat gold diamond pendant from Boodles and a Personal Shopping Experience to the value of €3,000 plus a champagne lunch in The Restaurant at Brown Thomas for 4 people and an overnight stay at the Five Star Marker Hotel in Dublin.
Derby Music Village, featuring a variety of bands and DJs hosted by Hector OhEoghagain
Sunday 29th June 1st race 2.15pm
Derby Festival Family Race Day featuring the Newbridge Silverware Pretty Polly Stakes (Group 1)
Aviva Health Kids Zone with variety of free entertainment and performance by the Cossack Stunt Riders and the chance to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the Minions for Despicable Me
Derby Food Paddock
Open over all 3 days of the Festival, The Derby Food Paddock serves the best dishes from Ireland’s leading food producers including restaurants, bakers and artisan producers. Racegoers can enjoy a huge variety of dishes located in the heart of the action beside the parade ring over all three days.
Exit 12 of M7. Free car parking
Dublin Coach provide a service to the races (see dublincoach.ie). Trains to Kildare Town with free shuttle to races
Available to purchase on www.curragh.ie including Irish Derby Day Admission with Coach ticket for only 40 euro. Under 16s free accompanied by an adult