| 3.3°C Dublin

Bolger filly still in Derby mix


The John Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs is an odds-on favourite for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby

The John Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs is an odds-on favourite for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby


The John Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs is an odds-on favourite for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby

John Gosden's Epsom runner-up Jack Hobbs remains a solid odds-on favourite for Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after nine potential starters were unveiled for the Curragh Classic at yesterday's final entry stage.

Coolmore have supplemented Jack Hobbs' Oaks counterpart Qualify, a move that usually costs 10pc of the prize fund, which in this case is €1.25m.

However, as part of an initiative to attract as high-class a field as possible for the landmark 150th edition of the 12-furlong Group One, a commitment was made to refund the Oaks winner's supplementary fee should she run.

Qualify's trainer Aidan O'Brien, chasing a 12th win in the race, also has the respective Derby fourth and sixth Giovanni Canaletto and Kilimanjaro engaged, along with his French Derby runner-up, Highland Reel.

David Wachman's Curvy is not among those that have gone forward following her Royal Ascot triumph. She was another that could have lined out at no cost, as will Jack Hobbs, second to Golden Horn, also trained by Gosden, at Epsom, Giovanni Canaletto, Highland Reel and Storm The Stars if they take their chance.

However, Curvy's closest Ribblesdale Stakes victim Pleascach, which Jim Bolger put in the race at a reduced supplementary cost of €12,500 the week before her stunning Irish 1,000 Guineas success, remains a contender.

She is also in Sunday's Sea The Stars Pretty Polly Stakes, and, while Bolger confirmed yesterday that he is still leaning toward letting her take on the colts, the fact that she and Jack Hobbs now both sport Godolphin blue complicates the matter slightly.

"There'll be no decision for a couple of days, but she is picking up well at the moment," Bolger said of Pleascach. "I would favour running in the Derby, but I have to speak to (Sheikh Mohammed's advisor) John Ferguson and see what Sheikh Mohammed would like to do. Normally they don't let those things interfere with running plans - they often run two in races."

Bolger's Godolphin-owned Lucida and Round Two were also both beaten at Ascot, with the juvenile Round Two especially disappointing in the Coventry Stakes. He will now be freshened up, with the Falmouth at Newmarket on July 10 a potential target for the 1,000 Guineas runner-up Lucida after her close Coronation third to Ervedya.

"Round Two is a bit quiet," Bolger explained. "He hasn't picked up, but Lucida is in good form. She is in the Falmouth and I'd say we will be having a good look at that. I will have to take my time with the two-year-old. He had an off day and is not at the top of his game at the moment."

Ten fillies have won the Irish Derby, but only Balanchine (1994) and Salsabil (1990) have done so since Gallinaria in 1900. Pleascach and Qualify both trade at odds of 10/1 to add their names to that elite list, with Highland Reel, Giovanni Canaletto and William Haggas' Epsom third Storm The Stars preceding them at around 7/1 and 8/1.

Dual winner Dermot Weld has the unbeaten Radanpour engaged. Wachman's 1,000 Guineas heroine and Oaks runner-up Legatissimo is a 2/1 shot to conquer her elders in Sunday's Pretty Polly, while Pleascach trades at up to 4/1.

It is 9/2 bar, with Weld's unbeaten Brooch and cross-channel contenders Rizeena and Secret Gesture among other classy entries in the 10-furlong Group One.

Irish Independent