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2019 Irish Derby tips - O'Brien's 3/1 Broome can sweep to colts' Classic success at the Curragh

Brian Healy 26 Jun 2019

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to Saturday's big race at the Curragh, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

A potential field of ten runners could go to post for the latest renewal of the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday, and if all the intended runners stand their ground then Aidan O’Brien will be responsible for more than half of the field, including Epsom Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck who could bid to land a Classic double.

Getting underway at 5.20pm, the 1m 4f contest carries a first prize in excess of €850,000 to the winner, and several notable names have won this contest including 2016 winner Harzand - who also won that season’s Epsom equivalent - joined on the recent roll of honour by the likes of Australia, Camelot, Treasure Beach, Fame And Glory, Dylan Thomas, Hurricane Run, High Chaparral and Galileo since the turn of the century.

Ballydoyle maestro Aidan O’Brien has a fantastic record in the contest, winning the race 12 times in total since Desert King handed him his first success in the race back in 1997. O’Brien could have as many as six runners in the race, with Anthony Van Dyck (5/4, William Hill) representing the stable’s main hope of a 13th win in the race.

Kept busy as a juvenile with seven starts, he has shown himself to be hugely progressive in the face of that experience, and the Galileo colt is 2-2 this term having won the Lingfield Derby Trial enroute to Epsom glory where he was strong at the finish to run down the reopposing Madhmoon.

That effort was all the more creditable given jockey Seamie Heffernan didn’t enjoy the clearest of runs, but he benefitted most from running against the rail once switched inside and he has to be respected on the back of those runs although it remains to be seen whether he can continue to produce the level of improvement he may need to keep ahead of some less exposed rivals who may have more to offer.

BROOME (3/1, Coral) meanwhile also had a busy juvenile campaign, rounding off with a pair of runner-up efforts at Leopardstown and Longchamp respectively before returnign this term with back-to-back wins in Group Three company.

The Australia colt went to Epsom where he was denied only by a half-length behind stablemate Anthony Van Dyck, eventually crossing the line a close fourth. He got upset in the stalls, which may not have helped his chances and he was slowly away from the stalls so possibly didn’t enjoy the best of runs.

However he did make some eyecatching progress in the race, and he held every chance at the furlong pole although others proved stronger in the finish. Already beaten as a juvenile behind both Anthony Van Dyck and Madhmoon, he came up short behind both again at Epsom, and strictly on the book he has something to find although he remains open to improvement still.

Il Paradiso (50/1, Bet365) failed to land a win in any of his three starts as a juvenile, but the Galileo colt took a marked step up in form when winning on his seasonal return at Leopardstown last month, beating Harpo Marx.

He finished third on last season’s debut behind Circus Maximus before registering back-to-back silver medal finishes at Newmarket and Gowran Park respectively. His reappearance success was a step in the right direction, but the form of that win falls some way short of what is required stepping into a Group One, and he looks more of a staying type who may prove better over further as his stamina is drawn out.

Norway (33/1, William Hill) meanwhile appears to have gone the wrong way from the promising colt he appeared to be last term when winning the Zetland Stakes prior to posting a solid fourth in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

The Galileo colt hat the ground as a possible excuse when finding stablemate Sir Dragonet too good in the Chester Vase prior to his Epsom Derby eighth; but he was bitterly disappointing when only managing to finish ninth of the 13 runners in the Queen’s Vase behind Dashing Willoughby.

The ground again can be offered as a potential excuse, and there is a possibility that he didn’t get home over the longer trip in the conditions. He may fare better now he comes back in trip and has more suitable ground; but he had few excuses at Epsom behind Anthony Van Dyck, and he has a couple of questions he needs to answer now if turning out relatively quickly following his Ascot exertions.

Sovereign (50/1, Coral) was employed for pace-making duties at Epsom when last seen, and it may well be that the Galileo colt is deployed in a similar role here.

A wide-margin winner at Galway last term in heavy ground, that has been his sole success to date, and he has been thumped behind the likes of Japan and Broome (twice) as well as when finishing tenth at Epsom latest.

He doesn’t look good enough to mount a serious challenge here, and even if running up to his best on his own terms he would likely struggle to get involved. More likely to set the fractions for more fancied stablemates, he is hard to make a case for on known form and he is the probable pace-setter in this field.

The last of the possible O’Brien-trained runners, Western Australia (50/1, Ladbrokes) was another who was kept busy as a juvenile, and the Australia colt kept some decent company in locking horns with the likes of Madhmoon, Persian King and Magna Grecia in his starts last term.

He won once, beating South Pacific at Gowran Park, and he rounded off his campaign with a good third to Magna Grecia in the Vertem Futurity Trophy. However, his progress has stalled this term despite winning a Navan Listed contest in May, beating Pythion, and he had only one rival in arrears when finishing almost 40 lengths adrift of Dashing Willoughby at Ascot.

The ground might have been a factor in his defeat, and he should prove more effective with better conditions likely to be more in his favour. However, he has plenty to find on the book, and he also has to prove that recent Ascot exertions haven’t left a mark.

Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph has both ridden and trained the winner of this race, and Buckhurst (20/1, William Hill) will be his representative on this occasion.

The Australia colt concedes experience to this field, having had just three runs; but he had looked a useful prospect when beating Jack Yeats on his debut at Leopardstown before finishing fve lengths’ fifth behind Broome in the Derrinstown Derby Trial back there in May.

Subsequently runner-up behind Constantinople at this venue in the Group Three Gallinule Stakes, that form has been boosted by the winner running well in defeat since at Royal Ascot in the King George V Stakes. 

This demands more however, and on form to date he has a bit to find - not least with Broome - while he didn’t appear to be crying out for a step up in trip last time so it remains to be seen whether his stamina lasts out over an extra quarter-mile. However, with owner and trainer combining twelve months ago to win the race with Latrobe, he shouldn’t be discounted from finding some further improvement and he could go well at a big price having possibly been prepared with this race in mind.

Guaranteed (50/1, Totesport) endured a mixed back of results as a juvenile, sandwiching wins here and at Leopardstown with a couple of lesser efforts which include behind Anthony Van Dyck and Japan respectively in the Irish Futurity Stakes and Beresford Stakes.

He rounded off last season by winning the Eyrefield Stakes, but he has taken a while to get going this season, finishing a cumulative 47 lengths behind Broome in two encounters with that rival and then beating only four home behind Phoenix Of Spain in the Irish 2000 Guineas.

Jim Bolger’s Teofilo colt got back on the scoresheet with a victory in Listed company at this venue earlier in the month, but he is likely to prove vulnerable back in Group company and the step up in trip will have to unlock significant improvement if he’s to enter the reckoning for this contest.

Madhmoon (5/2, Bet365) stepped up on his earlier runs in the season to go close at Epsom, and no-one would begrudge veteran trainer Kevin Prendergast a big win.

His Dawn Approach colt won both starts as a juvenile, beating Sydney Opera House at Leopardstown before getting the better of Broome in the Group Two Champions Juvenile Stakes back at the same venue next time.

Having returned to action with a near-miss runner-up finish - again at Leopardstown - he ran well for fourth behind Magna Grecia in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, and he made Anthony Van Dyck pull out all the stops at Epsom where he eventually finished in the runner-up berth and beaten a half-length.

Despite a mid-race stumble, he almost pinched the colts’ Classic, going clear between the third and second-last furlongs before being reeled in, and while he saw out the trip on that occasion, others were finishing stronger and he may prove to be better over ten furlongs where his turn of foot could be a real weapon.

Of course, Epsom might not have suited and he appeared to change his legs often which suggests he wasn’t entirely at ease on the cambers; he may prove better on a more conventional track such as the Curragh, and while he should give a good account, there is a suspicion that he may again be vulnerable to a stronger stayer.

Rakan (20/1, Ladbrokes) meanwhile will need to step up on his latest success in a Listed race at Leopardstown earlier in June, but Dermot Weld’s charge could well find further improvement having appeared well-suited by the extra distance last time.

The well-bred Sea The Stars colt is out of an Epsom Oaks runner-up, so he has the pedigreee to dine at this top table, and he was building on a five lengths’ fourth-place finish behind Broome at Leopardstown on his reappearance in the Derby Trial prior to beating Barbados in a three-runner race last time.

That form has been given a lift by the runner-up and third both running creditably at Royal Ascot, and he gives the impression that there is more in the locker although he appeared to just do enough last time out.

A strong pace might help him to find some improvement, and after five starts he may have more to offer still. However, he’ll probably need to progress quite a bit on his form to date and while an interesting contender he has his work cut out to get competitive against this field.


Madhmoon almost pinched the Epsom Derby when last seen out, forging clear between the third and second-last furlongs before being collared by Anthony Van Dyke, and there is a suspicion that Kevin Prendergast’s charge may be better over ten furlongs.

The Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyke meanwhile ought to go close in pursuit of a Derby double, but it could pay to side with another of the possible Aidan O’Brien-trained runners with BROOME (3/1, Coral) taken to get back on the scoresheet.

The Australia colt had won both previous starts this season before heading to Epsom, beating Blenheim Palace to win the Derrinstown Derby Trial, and he was immediately on the back-foot at Epsom when blowing the start having been fractious in the stalls.

Behind early and not in an ideal position, Donnacha O’Brien was forced to make up his ground widest of the field before finishing off the race well where he gave the impression that he perhaps saved a little for himself although he may not have been fully effective on the Epsom cambers.

A return to a more conventional and stiffer track might help, and while he has work to do with both Anthony Van Dyck and Madhmoon - who have both beaten him in starts away from the Derby - he looked strongest at the finish during the colts’ Classic and he may just have more improvement to come.

A likely strong pace to the race again could just draw out the finishing sting from Kevin Prendergast’s charge and test his stamina; but it is a scenario that could suit Broome, and the Australia colt can gain some revenge for his Epsom defeat. 


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2019 Irish Derby tips - O'Brien's 3/1 Broome can sweep to colts' Classic success at the Curragh

Brian Healy takes a runner-by-runner look ahead to Saturday's big race at the Curragh, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

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