Aidan O’Brien has won the last seven Irish Derbys – can he be on top again with Ruler Of The World?
The unbeaten Epsom Derby victor is a worthy favourite for the Irish classic, but will have to face a strong field at the Curragh. To complete the double he will have to tackle his Epsom adversaries Libertarian and Galileo Rock again. Libertarian was staying on strongly when they last met and will relish the additional stamina test that the probable changing ground may produce. However, the greatest threat to the eighth consecutive Irish Derby victory for Aidan O’Brien will come from the Sandown winner – Sugar Boy. Sugar Boy had Libertarian and Galileo Rock behind him at Sandown and is said to be in outstanding form. Even though this twilight classic has a deeper field than usual O’Brien should be Ruler Of The World again.
The Pitman’s Derby (The Northumberland Plate) has been cut up by the late withdrawal of probable market leaders – Montaser and Sun Central due to the softening of the ground. With these two removed from the picture the race looks again at the mercy of the former winners Ile De Re and Tominator. Crockford favours 2012 winner Ile De Re who will love the slowing conditions.
The cards at the Curragh and at Newmarket are both packed with quality. Slade Power looks poised to win the Sapphire Stakes (5.50) at the Curragh after his encouraging run at Royal Ascot and Libranno is not without chances of adding a third victory in the Criterion Stakes (3.30) at Newmarket. One of today’s greats Richard Hughes will ride Harris Tweed in the race that commemorates the greatest jockey of them all Fred Archer at (2.55)
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Slade Power (Curragh 5.50)
Seventh in the Diamond Jubilee last weekend and third behind Hitchens in the Greenlands on his seasonal debut. This Edward Lynam horse will come on from those runs and looks a Dead Cert for today in a weaker field. The only danger is Move in Time with Murtagh booked.
Crockford’s Whisper – Ile De Re e/w (Newcastle 3.15)
Last year this McCain horse completed the Chester Cup and Northumberland Plate double. Even though his two runs this season were not to that standard and he was disappointing over hurdles in the winter, the race looks right for another big show at good each way odds. The weight off his back will help too.
Archer’s Selection – Harris Tweed (Newmarket 2.55)
Archer would have known the quality that this horse has shown in the past and would have marked his run last time when finishing second at Newmarket behind Willing Foe. The shrewd master jockey would have also noticed that last night at Newmarket front runners like this Haggas horse were rewarded. He would have been his selection.
Crockford’s gambles around the courses:
Curragh – Count Of Limonade (3.40), Hanky Panky (4.15), Gabriel’s Lad e/w (4.45), Coach House (5.15), Slade Power (5.50), Ruler Of The World and Sugar Boy e/w (Irish Derby 6.30)
Newcastle – Majestic Myles e/w (2.05), Pearl Ice e/w (2.40) and Ile De Re e/w (3.15)
Newmarket – Majeyda (2.20), Harris Tweed (2.55), Pastoral Player and Libranno e/w (3.30) and Heading North (5.05)
Chester – Chooseday (2.45), Duke Of Cosimo and Heavy Metal e/w (3.20), Assizes (3.55) and Montaff (5.25)
Windsor – Port Alfred (3.05), Clowance Estate (3.35), French Navy (4.10) and Rex Imperator (4.40)
(Featured Photograph – Ruler Of The World storms clear in The Derby by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Ile De Re at Ascot by Stuart Rice)