Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Irish Derby

It’s a funny old Irish Derby today with little in the way of established three-year-old form to go on.  The favourite, Santiago, is a horse whose most notable run was when he won the Queen’s Vase at Ascot over 14 furlongs. This unlikely route to a Derby says a lot about the rest of the field. Two thirds of them are trained, like Santiago, by the O’Brien juggernaut so any one of them could be anything - many of their three-year-olds take time to come to hand. An interesting piece of form is that as a two-year-old Santiago was hammered by Alpine Star - a spectacular recent winner at Royal Ascot for Jessica Harrington. The latter filly could be the real star of the season. Crossfirehurricane trained by Joseph O’Brien is unbeaten and looked good in the Gallinule over 10 furlongs at the Curragh. Before that he was winning at Dundalk and Limerick - not the usual path to Derby glory, Fiscal Rules trained by Jim Bolger catches the eye - Bolger knows how to win a Derby and this horse ran a good trial in the 2000 Guineas. However, backing maidens in the Derby seems a bad idea. I’m tempted to swerve the whole thing but as I backed Santiago at Ascot I think I’ll stay with him.