Thirty six still hold an entry in the third classic of the Irish season, a race in which leading trainer Aidan O’Brien is going for his thirteenth success with the most recent of those coming twelve months ago when Capri and jockey Seamie Heffernan took the prestigious event on a competitive day.
The major form line for this year’s renewal, like in many years gone by is the Epsom Derby form of four weeks ago. On that occasion 2000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior was sent off odds-on to defeat his eleven rivals and while he failed to add a second classic to his resume he finished a perfectly respectable fourth having encountered trouble in running and with the possibility that he wasn’t entirely at ease at Epsom.
Ultimately Saxon Warrior (8/13 with 888sport) finished best of the Aidan O’Brien runners that day and with just one of the three in front of him on that occasion adjudged to be a possible runner on Saturday he looks likely to put in a bold show as he bids to record a third win at the highest level.
Dee Ex Bee (4/1 with Coral), runner-up at Epsom isn’t currently entered in the race but can be supplemented into the contest for a fee later in the week and while his Epsom effort was a marked improvement on what he’d shown previously there’s no reason to suggest it was a fluke and having placed on all three previous starts this season he looks likely to play a leading role should he make the line-up on this occasion.
Hunting Horn (12/1 with Betfair), a stablemate of Saxon Warrior and a promising individual in his own right is another who could make the lineup on Saturday evening and having run well to finish sixth over an extended 1m2f at Chantilly in the Prix Du Jockey Club, France’s equivalent of the Derby he put in a career-best effort when trouncing his fifteen rivals over 1m2f in a Group 3 contest at Royal Ascot last week.
The son of Camelot (the winner of this race in 2012) has run well over this trip in the past having finished third here in the Chester Vase last month.
The winner of the Chester Vase that day was Young Rascal (25/1 with Bet365) and while he proved a disappointment when he could finish only seventh at Epsom he can be forgiven that effort given the unique nature of the track.
Prior to that William Haggas’ charge had taken a Newbury maiden race in April and while he would be having just his fifth start if taking to the track here he looks a contender with the return to this more conventional track in his favour.
Knight To Behold (33/1 with Coral) is another to disappoint, and it seems unlikely that a thirty three length defeat is a true reflection of his ability, particularly when considering how impressive he was in winning a recognised Derby trial at Lingfield on his previous start with a subsequent winner over further finishing a well held second.
Trained by Harry Dunlop, the colt is bred to stay well being a half-brother to a number of performers over 1m4f+ and while a stiffer test of stamina would probably be preferred he is another looking to get back on track with a good effort.
Like Dee Ex Bee the useful Old Persian (16/1 with 10Bet) would need to be supplemented into this contest should connections wish to make the trip across the Irish Sea for Saturday’s big event. Trained by Charlie Appleby the Dubawi colt has been kept away from Group 1 company so far and was making his first appearance in Group events when winning over this trip at Royal Ascot last time out.
Stablemate Ghaiyyath (25/1 Ladbrokes) could join him in this contest and having looked the part in winning his final two starts last year he is worth considering stepping up in trip on his first outing since winning a Group 3 event at Newmarket last October.
Of the less exposed runners in the contest Dermot Weld’s Bandua (50/1 with Sunbets) is unbeaten in two starts over 1m2f, most recently on soft-to-heavy ground at Cork early last month and while he’s likely to encounter vastly different underfoot conditions he may outperform his current 50/1 odds at top horse racing bookies as he attempts to give his handler a second victory in the race in the last three years.