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Ascot winner Santiago among 10 Ballydoyle hopefuls in Irish Derby at the Curragh

Tue 23 Jun 2020

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Royal Ascot hero Santiago is one of 19 horses confirmed for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Aidan O’Brien’s colt ran out an impressive winner of the Queen’s Vase last Friday, and could make a swift reappearance on Saturday in a bid to provide his trainer with a record 14th victory in the Curragh Classic.

O’Brien has 10 contenders in all, with Arthur’s Kingdom and Iberia two other leading hopes, while the Ballydoyle handler’s two sons Joseph and Donnacha O’Brien are both likely to be in opposition.

Aidan O'Brien is set to hold a strong hand again in this year's Irish Derby
Aidan O'Brien is set to hold a strong hand again in this year's Irish Derby

Joseph has left in the unbeaten Crossfirehurricane and Galileo Chrome, and supplemented the only filly in the field, New York Girl. Fledgling trainer Donnacha O’Brien, meanwhile, is set to be represented by Sherpa.

Ger Lyons claimed his first Classic with Siskin in the Irish 2,000 Guineas this month, and could saddle the maiden Chiricahua.

The only other possible runners not trained by an O’Brien are Fiscal Rules (Jim Bolger), Gold Maze (Jessica Harrington), King Of The Throne (Emmet Mullins) and Sunchart (Andrew Slattery).

The latter impressed in a Tipperary maiden last autumn, but finished last of five on his reappearance in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

Slattery said: “He’s an intended runner at the moment, as long as we get a bit of rain and everything goes well over the next few days.

“He was lame after Leopardstown, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. It took him a week or so to get over that – but he did a nice bit of work this morning, and we think he’s come back right.

“Aidan looks like he’ll have plenty of runners in it – I’m nearly the only one without the surname O’Brien!

“I think it’s an open year – and as long as the ground is good and safe, there’s no reason not to give it a go.”

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