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Time for a rethink on Derby


Joseph O'Brien on Australia. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

Joseph O'Brien on Australia. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

Joseph O'Brien on Australia. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

OBVIOUSLY, it was a pity there was so few runners in last Saturday's Irish Derby and there has been plenty said in the aftermath.

Australia was impressive as you would expect but he is a horse I saw in the spring and looking at him on Saturday I felt he looked to have done really well physically since.

What I saw at the Curragh is a horse that is thriving with his racing and putting on weight and is improving all the time and I would expect the next step with him now would be a drop back in trip and the Juddmonte International in August would be the likely target.

Unfortunately the Irish Derby has been in decline for a number of reasons and from the time the French changed the distance of the Prix du Jockey Club to a mile and a quarter it has had a detrimental affect on the Irish Derby.


Our best renewals of Irish Derbys have been when the very best of the French came and took on the Epsom Derby winner.

I think it lies in the hands of the European Pattern Committee now but I see quite a lot of French trainers are looking for the Prix du Jockey Club to change back so hopefully it will be restored and then you could also possibly look at running some 'win and you're in' races in France and possibly even England.

However, while Godolphin and the Maktoums don't buy the colts by Coolmore stallions there is going to be a problem. It's not Coolmore's fault and they have the best middle distance stallions like Galileo so until that changes everyone, including the punter, is going to suffer as a result.

People are also probably deciding they'd prefer to run at Ascot rather than be third or fourth in the Irish Derby so maybe moving a week further away from Royal Ascot would be a help also.

On the otherhand, we look to have a very good Group One in the shape of the Eclipse tomorrow afternoon but unfortunately for connections of Kingston Hill I would say he is a very likely defector.

It was the hottest day of the year in England yesterday so I can't see him running and it looks like The Fugue is going to get her ground and if she does she will be very hard to beat. She has won four Group Ones and is a high class filly who was 
undoubtedly very unlucky not to have won three more Group Ones.

Night Of Thunder will tell us an awful lot about the three-year-old's form but I'm not sure if the step up in trip will work.

If it does, he will be very hard to beat and like the Guineas I can see them reverting to coming from off the pace with him. It looks a real interesting race.