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Ruler primed for Curragh

EPSOM Derby hero Ruler Of The World remains on course for Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh his trainer Aidan O'Brien confirmed this morning.

O'Brien was speaking via a phone link at the Irish Derby media breakfast at the Curragh where final preparations were being put in place ahead of Derby weekend which gets underway on Friday.

"Everything has gone well since Epsom with Ruler Of The World so it's so far so good really and we are looking forward to Saturday," O'Brien said.

He added: "It is also possible that Festive Cheer will run as well."

Local trainer Patrick Prendergast is building up to the biggest day of his training career as he prepares Sugar Boy for the blue riband of Irish flat racing.

Prendergast worked his Derby hopeful with a stable companion up the home straight of the Curragh racecourse and was pleased with how the horse is approaching the race.

"He moved beautifully this morning," Prendergast revealed.

"We held on to him a little bit, because as I said, there is no prize money this morning and the track is in great nick, but it is probably a bit on the quick side for him."

Sugar Boy hasn't raced since late April when he won the Sandown Classic Trial where he had both the Epsom Derby runner-up and third behind.

Chris Hayes, who will be onboard the current 7/1 shot on Saturday evening, partnered Sugar Boy in this morning's racecourse gallop and Prendergast continued: "Chris was happy with him this morning as well."

"That is as well as he goes at home. He never kills himself and will only do what he has to do."

The ground is described as good all over by the Curragh's Paul Hensey and Prendergast admitted he was "praying" for some rain.

"My horse goes on good ground but I know softer ground doesn't inconvenience him, and it's more a question of slowing down the others, but he goes on any ground."

Trainer Jim Bolger also spoke via a phone link about his intended runner Trading Leather who won the listed Silver Stakes at the Curragh earlier in this month.

"Trading Leather is very well and has just been out for his exercise this morning and he seems in very good form and looks very well," Bolger said.

When asked about Trading Leather's wellbeing since winning the Silver Stakes, Bolger replied in typical witty fashion: "Well he's not going backwards anyway.

"He's been eating well and his weight is back on. Good ground or a little faster would be ideal. He will be my only runner."

Bolger won the Irish Derby with St Devote in 1992 on a day when he trained five winners and he concluded: "We'll settle for that again or even fifty per cent of it."


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