The Curragh: Irish Derby Day Preview

All eyes will be on The Curragh on Saturday for Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby day

Alan Marron previews Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day at The Curragh

Alan Marron runs the rule over a fantastic day of racing at The Curragh on Saturday, Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby day.


BLAIRMAYNE gave his trainer Natalia Lupini a great day out when he won very nicely last time out and the handicapper has given him a real chance to follow up here by only raising him a pound.

Killian Leonard, who rode him that day, kicked on two furlongs out and he stayed on to prevail by half-a-length from Arcanears, who reopposes here.

This will be Blairmayne’s third run of 2019 and he should improve a little from last time out.

I would give him a massive chance here and the booking of Shane Foley (pictured below) is an even bigger positive.




The Gordon Elliott-trained BECKFORD has some very good juvenile form and, after a lacklustre run first time out this year under tender handling, he could be ready to show his true colours again this season.

One piece of form really stands out from his juvenile form – his fifth-place finish in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, which was a very good run in terms of this race. Also, he started favourite that day.

If Gordon has got him back in peak shape, it would take a very good performance from one of the opposition to beat him.


Leading jumps trainer Gordon Elliott could get a flat winner on Sarturday



FLIGHT RISK has been performing at the top of his form this season and Jim Bolger looks to have placed him well here to get another victory.

He has won a Listed Race and a Group Three very nicely and drops back into Listed company here.

Many of his opposition have question marks against them and I honestly can’t see anything putting it up to him if he produces his A-game.


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For me, the most-interesting runner here is the Dermot Weld-trained GEORGEVILLE, who will be ridden by the very talented Oisin Orr.

This horse has absolutely bolted up in his last two races and deserves the step up in class. He won his maiden well before winning an average race under hands and heels last time out.

I mention the “anything “ category a good bit in my previews and this horse, for me, is definitely one in that category.

He could improve even more from last-time out and he could be a horse to keep on the right side of for the likes of Champions Weekend.

Without a doubt, Addeybb is the classiest horse in the field but he wants soft ground and, with the weather the way it is this week, there is very little chance of that happening.

The three-year-olds also get the weight allowance here and they could really make it count.




JASSAAR could give the master of Rosewell House a quick double here as he bids to follow up his victory from last time over this course.

He steps up in trip to a mile here and I can see that being no issue whatsover. He beat Flight Risk on his last run and has been raised six pounds by the handicapper for that win.

As I have already mentioned, Flight Risk went on to win his next two starts, including a Group Three, and is now rated 112.

Jassaar runs here off 91 and looks to be a potential handicap snip in this field. He could simply be too good for them and be a Group performer running in a handicap.

DK Weld will have one of the big handicaps in mind at his beloved Ballybrit should this horse win here, and I can’t see any reason why he won’t put in a big performance.


4.40 GAIN RAILWAY STAKES, Group 2, 6f, 2yo, €130,000

One of the feature races of the day and this race normally gives us a quality two-year-old to follow for later in the season.

Monarch Of Egypt was all the rage before his debut and he justified the market confidence and won nicely. He hasn’t been seen for 77 days, and that is a negative for me.

The horse that I really like here is the Ger Lyons-trained SISKIN, who impresses me the more I watch his races back.

He travels really well and quickened best of all at Naas on his debut to win very well. His next run over course and distance was even more impressive. His turn of foot left King Neptune standing, and he is  a very decent horse in his own right.

If Monarch Of Egypt is as good as the O’Brien team think he is then he will need to produce something spectacular to lower the colours of Siskin, who my nap of day three.


Ger Lyons looks to have a smart two-year-old on his hands in Siskin


5.20 DUBAI DUTY FREE IRISH DERBY, Group 1, €1,500,000, 12 furlongs

The feature race of the weekend and it sees the rematch from Epsom, with three of the firsts four home taking each other one again.

The only one to miss out is Japan, who has since franked the form by winning impressively at Royal Ascot.

All this said, for me, MADHMOON ran a race full of promise at Epsom and could be the value here against both Ballydoyle colts.

A lot went wrong for him during the Derby but he battled all the way to the line and was only beaten a half a length.

His two-year-old form was very strong and I do believe if he was positioned on the rail at Epsom the camber would have balanced him and he would have stayed on even stronger.

Is Anthony Van Dyck a solid favourite? I don’t believe he is. I think a Seamie Heffernan masterclass won the race at Epsom.  For me, Madhmoon should be shorter in the market and might well be as we approach race time.

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Aidn O’Brien will be looking for a remarkable 13th win in the Irish Derby



We finish the three-day meeting with a competitive two-mile handicap where the National Hunt trainers are well represented.

However, Michael Halford has a decent chance here with his recent course-and-distance second TIRMIZI.

The handicapper has left him on the same mark from that race and, for me, having watched his last race back, he led a little too early and I think this time around he will be held onto for longer.

He travels well in his races off a strong pace and was just got caught close home last time out.

He’ll be decent each-way value here to end the day as well as the meeting.

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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article