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5/2 shot to reverse Epsom form in Curragh Classic? Get Irish Derby tips

Madhmoon (credit:PA Wire/PA Archive/PA Images)

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this year’s Irish Derby and provides readers with his tips at the Curragh on Saturday 29th June.


Almost a month after Epsom staged the original version of this famous Classic, the Curragh will welcome a handful of top quality colts onto their hallowed turf to take part in the Irish Derby. Many famous horses have done the British and Irish Derby double down the years, with the names of Nijinsky, Shergar, Galileo and Camelot standing out above the rest and Anthony Van Dyck (5/4 Coral) will bid to add his name to that illustrious list this weekend.

Despite showing plenty of smart form as a two-year-old, Anthony Van Dyck sat quite a way down the ante-post Epsom betting at the time his reappearance in the Derby Trial at Lingfield. Victory there boosted O’Brien’s colt a little higher up the market, but Anthony Van Dyck was still a 13/2 shot when the starter sent the runners on their way.

Seamie Heffernan’s mount travelled comfortably throughout the race and, as a wall of classy horses formed in-front of him two from home, Anthony Van Dyck was asked to make his move. Heffernan spied a gap on the near-side rail, dragging his mount inside the leaders. Showing a smart turn of foot and bags of stamina, Anthony Van Dyck swept past his rivals and held on to claim Derby glory by around half-a-length.

My ante-post selection for the Epsom Derby was Madhmoon (5/2 Coral), after legendary trainer, Kevin Prendergast decided to step his charge up in trip following a fast-finishing fourth in the 2000 Guineas. Few fancied his chances heading into Epsom, but a flurry of support on the day saw Madhmoon slashed into 10/1 as he took his place in the stalls.

A cruel stroke of luck almost brought Madhmoon's effort to an end rounding the turn, as a costly stumble almost dislodged Chris Hayes from the saddle. That error lit up Prendergast’s mount, who carted his way through the pack, forcing past Sir Dragonet at the head of affairs. Eventually, Hayes and his mount hit the front a little too soon as Anthony Van Dyck slid home along the rail, but there was no disgrace in Madhmoon’s performance and he will be a strong contender as he makes his debut at the Curragh.

Many expert’s predicted that Broome (3/1 Coral) would be the best of O’Brien’s bunch at Epsom, after the Ballydoyle runner won the Derrisontown Stud Trial without breaking too much of a sweat. Like Anthony Van Dyck, Broome had looked a sturdy stayer in the making during a successful juvenile campaign and Donnacha O’Brien was happy to pull Broome to the rear of the field in the early stages at Epsom.

As the field rounded the bend, Donnacha made his move, treading a wide berth around the outside of the pack. Broome came under a fierce drive as the leaders passed the two poll, but sadly for Donnacha, his mount couldn’t find the final finishing burst to overhaul his stablemate and Broome had to settle for a half-length defeat in fourth place.

I fear the strength of the top three could deter some trainers from taking their chance at the Curragh. Obviously Aidan O’Brien will throw two or three of his other three-year-olds into the mix, but the likes of Norway (33/1 Coral), Il Paradiso (40/1 William Hill) and Sovereign (50/1 William Hill) haven’t a hope of staying with their bunk-mates at the top of the market.

Soft ground forced Buckhurst (16/1 Totesport) out of the King Edward V Stakes at Royal Ascot and there’s every chance Joseph O’Brien will allow his top colt to try and emulate last year's winner, Latrobe. Rakan (20/1 Coral) beat Barbados to a Listed prize over this trip on his most recent outing at Leopardstown and he could interest each-way punters. Yet, this year’s Irish Derby is shaping up to be a fascinating three-horse race and one of the top three will be my selection.

Due to the fact that the top four home finished within half-a-length of each other, some have heaped scorn on this year’s Epsom Derby. Personally, I was always confident it would turn out to be a very high-quality contest and the victory Japan – who came home like a train to claim third at Epsom – secured at Royal Ascot helped boost the form of that Classic considerably.

If we do get eight or more runners, a combination tricast between the leading trio here could be a profitable ploy. Anthony Van Dyck and Broome have the quality and stamina to win this on any given day. MADHMOON (5/2 Coral) was, however, my selection at Epsom and I thought he ran extremely well given the way his race panned out, so I’m going to keep faith with Kevin Prendergast’s colt.

Few thought Madhmoon would stay the course as he stepped up beyond a mile for the first time, pointing towards an apparent lack of stamina in his breeding. I wasn’t particularly worried. Madhmoon carried himself like a very classy horse on both of his juvenile starts and he still had tons of running left in his legs as he crossed the line in the Guineas.

That stumble at the top of the hill may have put lesser horses off their game completely. Madhmoon was clearly ruffled by that error and I doubt it was Chris Hayes’ game-plan to hit the front as early as he did. I was half expecting Prendergast’s charge to fall away in the closing stages following that impromptu burst to the front, but Madhmoon stuck to his task really well and only Anthony Van Dyck managed to get past him.

The Curragh may be unknown territory for Madhmoon, who’s best results have come on left-handed tracks. If he does take to the track - which I think he will - and the ground comes up favourably quick, then I can see this talented colt turning the tables on his Epsom conqueror to hand his legendary trainer a memorable Classic success.


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5/2 shot to reverse Epsom form in Curragh Classic? Get Irish Derby tips

Our expert takes a look through the betting for this year’s Irish Derby and provides readers with his tips at the Curragh on Saturday 29th June

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