MADHMOON has been confirmed to be on course to run in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby in a fortnight’s time.
Runner-up at Epsom two weeks ago, the Kevin Prendergast-trained colt is expected to again meet Epsom winner Anthony Van Dyck at the Curragh on June 29th.
Prendergast has yet to win the Irish Derby. His father Paddy saddled the winner on four occasions, most notably with the Bing Crosby-owned Meadow Court in 1965
Angus Gold, racing manager to Madhmoon’s owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “Kevin is delighted with the horse since his fantastic run at Epsom and Sheikh Hamdan is keen to run in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, a race he won with Salsabil in 1990.”
Madhmoon is 5/1 with Paddy Power to win the Irish Derby, the market headed by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck at 2/1. The latter’s stable companions Broome and Sir Dragonet, a close fourth and fifth respectively at Epsom, are expected to run at the Curragh.
Epsom third Japan, also trained by O’Brien, is due to run in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot next Friday.
The Dermot Weld-trained Rakan and Jim Bolger’s Guaranteed are two other home-trained Irish Derby hopefuls, but at the moment there is no news of any foreign runners in the €1.5 million classic.
In a change of schedule this year, the three-day Irish Derby meeting starts on Thursday and finishes on Derby day. Sunday, June 30th is a blank racing day.
Friday’s feature race is the Group 1 Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes, which is the target of this month’s Oaks runner-up Pink Dogwood and the five-year-old Coronet, trained by John Gosden.
The Kerrygold Irish Oaks on Saturday, July 20th is the likely target for two Ralph Beckett-trained fillies: Antonia De Vega and Manuela De Vega.
Antonia De Vega won the same Newbury listed race on Thursday as won last year by Irish Oaks heroine Sea Of Class.
Beckett said: “The [soft] ground helped and I would be keen based on what we’ve seen to stick to where there is a bit of juice. She is in the Irish Oaks and that might be a possibility. She and Manuela De Vega might end up going together.”
Looking further ahead on the Curragh programme, the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes (Friday, August 9th) has attracted 73 entries. British trainers with entries are Simon Crisford, Archie Watson, Karl Burke, Charlie Appleby, Saeed Bin Suroor, Richard Fahey, Richard Hannon, Mark Johnston, Kevin Ryan, Roger Varian and John Quinn.
Aidan O’Brien, who has won the race an unprecedented 16 times, will be hoping to add to this tally and has a large team of entries including Pistoletto, Arizona, Monarch Of Egypt and Lope Y Fernandez. The unbeaten Siskin, trained by Ger Lyons, and Sunday Sovereign, trained by Paddy Twomey, are other notable Irish-trained entries.
Ed Prosser, Keeneland’s European representative, said: “The prize money has increased to €300,000 this year and we are delighted to see entry numbers rise so markedly, including a strong contingent trained in Britain.”
The Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes, to be run on Sunday, July 21st, has attracted 47 entries including Beshaayir, Hamariyna, Imperial Charm, Worth Waiting and Ummalnar, while there are 38 entries for the Friarstown Stud Sapphire Stakes on the same day.