Irish horse racing best bets – Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby day

Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day.Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day.

Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day

There is top-class horse racing action coming from Ireland on Saturday where the Irish Derby dominates proceedings on a fantastic card at the Curragh. We’ve looked over the day’s racecard to pick out our Saturday tips for the Curragh and best bets at the fixture.

Horse racing fans are in for a real treat this weekend with the Irish Derby Festival taking place and a top-quality racecard is on the agenda for Saturday where the feature Group One Irish Derby takes centre stage on a card that also includes Group Two and Group Three action as well as two Premier Handicap contests.

The big race of the day on the eight-race card gets underway at 3.45pm and forms part of Saturday’s ITV Racing coverage and we’ve looked over what promises to be a cracking racecard at the top Irish track where we’ve picked out our Saturday tips for the Curragh.


2:00 Curragh – Dubai Duty Free Dash Stakes (Listed Race) (3yo+) 6f

ROMANTIC PROPOSAL was a course and distance winner back in July last year before running well in defeat in better races and Edward Lynam’s charge can get back on track here.

The Raven’s Pass mare has made the frame on both outings this term, finishing third on her return in a Listed contest at Naas in May prior to finding only Sonaiyla too good over course and distance latest in a Group Three contest.

That form looks strong with the winner going on to run with credit in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes during Royal Ascot and the sixth making the frame in Listed company; assuming she can run to a similar level on this better ground she ought to make her presence felt and she can get back on the scoresheet here.

Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day. Ger Lyons can saddle a winner on the card.

Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day. Ger Lyons can saddle a winner on the card.

3:05 Curragh – GAIN Railway Stakes (Group 2) (2yo) 6f

DR ZEMPF looked a smart prospect when routing Elliptic and others on his debut over this course and distance earlier in the month and the Dark Angel colt could take a big step forward with that experience under his belt to win again despite this being a much tougher test.

Ger Lyons’ charge caught the eye travelling really well in that contest, running between horses and effortless going to the front inside the final furlong before readily asserting for a comfortable win. That form has been boosted since with the third going on to score a win next time, while the runner-up wasn’t disgraced in the Albany Stakes.

This will certainly be tougher but he won in the style of one with plenty of potential and with a run under his belt he could improve markedly on what was an impressive first run.

3:45 Curragh – Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Group 1) (3yo) 1m4f

A few of these lined up in the Epsom equivalent and the likes of Hurricane Lane and Mac Swiney ought to be in the mix; but at a bigger price it may be worth chancing on a return to form by VAN GOGH who got himself into all sorts of trouble in the French Derby and the American Pharoah colt is surely better than he showed.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge is one of five in the race from Ballydoyle and Colin Keane again takes the reins having partnered him in France where he ran on to finish tenth having found himself boxed in on all sides turing into the final straight and unable to get out. It is debatable he’d have made much impression on the impressive winner, but he’d surely have finished a lot closer and it would be unfair to judge him on that effort having ran well in third the time before in the Irish 2000 Guineas.

He won twice last term including a Group One in France and he could improve for this step up in trip so is perhaps worth another chance. He has done his winning on softer ground, but he’s twice placed on quicker ground so these conditions should be too much of a problem and he can post a big run tackling the extra distance now despite stablemate High Definition looking the stable’s first string.

4:20 Curragh – ARM Holding International Stakes (Group 3) (3yo+) 1m2f

NJORD won the Balmoral Handicap on his final outing last term at Ascot and Jessica Harrington’s charge can get back to winning ways here having shown improvement with each start this term following his return behind Broome at Naas back in March.

A course and distance winner last season he showed the benefit of his return in March to finish a good third over seven furlongs at Naas in May after which he chased home Kinross in the John Of Gaunt Stakes where he was doing his best work late.

The return to a longer trip will be in his favour and he could step up again here despite Shane Foley looking to the yard’s other runner. Quicker ground is no problem and while he’s come up short at this level in the past he could make the breakthrough now back over a more suitable distance.

Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day. Jessica Harrington has a couple of live chances of a Saturday winner.

Saturday tips for the Curragh on Irish Derby Day. Jessica Harrington has a couple of live chances of a Saturday winner.

4:50 Curragh – Dubai Duty Free Celebration Stakes (Listed Race) (3yo+) 1m

HARPOCRATES quickly appeared to reach a ceiling when trained by Aidan O’Brien but the Invincible Spirit colt arrives here on a hat-trick for current handler Jessica Harrington who has won two of the last three renewals of this contest and could make it three here with their hat-trick seeker.

A winner at Dundalk in March he followed up with a narrow victory over Maker Of Kings at Tipperary, prevailing by a short-head having almost lost his rider leaving the gates. The pair did well to recover and won a shade cosily considering what had transpired earlier in the race, staying on well to the line with little to separate the front three.

Both the runner-up and third horses home have won Group Three prizes since to give the form a couple of significant boosts and stepping back up to one mile will be no issue for the four-year old who can continue his improvement for this yard to land the three-timer.