Madhmoon in great shape for rematch with Anthony Van Dyck in Irish Derby

Tue 25 Jun 2019

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Anthony Van Dyck headlines Aidan O’Brien’s six contenders for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday.

The Investec Derby, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore after Seamie Heffernan partnered him to glory at Epsom last time out, will bid to complete a double last achieved by Harzand in 2016.

Broome, who was fourth at Epsom, Norway, Il Paradiso, Sovereign and Western Australia remain in the mix for Ballydoyle.

“At the moment it looks like Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, Norway and Sovereign, and we still have to decide on Western Australia and Il Paradiso,” said O’Brien, speaking at a press morning for the race.

“Ryan always rides the number one and that is obviously Anthony Van Dyck, that’s the way it always is in a Derby.”

Kevin Prendergast’s Madhmoon is the biggest threat to O’Brien’s dominance.

He overcame a troubled run to finish a fine third at Epsom.

Evan Arkwright, racing manager at the Curragh, tells us more about this weekend

Prendergast, who turns 87 in a few weeks’ time, said: “My father won the Irish Derby winner four times, the first one being Dark Warrior in 1950.

“Madhmoon is a good horse and hopefully he has a good chance. He’s got a battalion to beat, but hopefully he can act as well as he did at Epsom and we might get a result.

“All the horses that ran in the Derby have run creditably since, I think there were two winners at Royal Ascot out of it.

“Aidan said it was one of the better Derbys that he’s had horses to run in, so hopefully he was right.

“He’s absolutely bombing – he’s in great form and couldn’t be better.”

Chris Hayes rides Madhmoon and said of Epsom: “To go down by half a length because of things you can’t control, it was a bitter pill to swallow but hopefully we can put it right on his next start.

Watch James Willoughby and Angus McNae analyse the Derby

“I think the Curragh will suit him better, Epsom is very demanding and you need things to go right, as I found out. The Curragh is a fair track and I’ll imagine he’ll be much more at home, it’s also just five minutes up the road which has to be a positive.

“I don’t think the occasion got to him, everything went right until the road crossing which set him racing sooner than I wanted.

“We were half a length off being perfect, hopefully we can put that right.”

In the same Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum ownership as Madhmoon is Dermot Weld’s progressive Sea The Stars colt Rakan.

Completing the list is Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst and Jim Bolger’s Guaranteed.

Saturday’s card also features a high class edition of the Group 2 GAIN Railway Stakes where the unbeaten Siskin is set to line up after skipping Royal Ascot.

Aidan O’Brien has left in the Coventry Stakes winner Arizona but did indicate that this race could see the second appearance of the exciting Monarch Of Egypt.

Make sure you watch this week's This Racing Life - it's a Curragh/Irish Derby special

Monarch Of Egypt lived up to a lofty reputation when becoming the first winning son of first season sire American Pharoah at Naas in April but hasn't run since.

"We are thinking of running back Monarch Of Egypt in the Railway Stakes," O'Brien confirmed on Tuesday. "We were to go to Ascot with him but he had a little bit of a setback so he's just ready to start back now at The Curragh. We might have something else to go with him as well."

The ground is currently described as good to yielding, yielding in places on the round track and yielding, yielding to soft on the straight track with temperatures due to rise into the high 20s later this week.

Details of admission prices and discounted offers can be found by clicking here. Children under 18 that are accompanied by an adult go racing for free.

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