‘The plan is to go to the Curragh for the Irish Guineas’ – Donnacha O’Brien sets goal for Proud And Regal
Proud And Regal is set to come back in trip for the Irish 2,000 Guineas, with trainer Donnacha O'Brien looking to the Betfred Derby with Dee Stakes runner-up Alder.
A son of Galileo, Proud And Regal won three of his five starts as a juvenile - which included the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud - and was third to Sprewell in the Derby Trial at Leopardstown on his return.
A general 33-1 chance for the Derby, his Ballyroe handler felt Proud And Regal showed enough speed for the mile of the Tattersalls-sponsored Irish Guineas on Saturday week.
"I thought the winner won very well," said O'Brien. "It was kind of a hard race to read. I came away scratching my head a little bit, but the more I saw it, I think we're going to step him back down in trip for the Irish Guineas.
"I thought he travelled really well. There's definitely a chance that he will get 10 furlongs and we could be going back there after the Guineas, but the plan is to go to the Curragh for the Irish Guineas."
Given his pedigree, by champion three-year-old Galileo, who was a dual Derby and King George winner, Proud And Regal is bred to get a mile and a half.
He won on heavy ground at Saint-Cloud over a mile, but O'Brien is uncertain whether the 10-furlong trip at Leopardstown suited.
He said: "I wasn't sure.
"There is a chance he will definitely be going back up in trip, but two-year-old races are a lot different than older horse races. You can get away with an inadequate distance a lot more at two than you can at three.
"We'll see how he comes out of the race, but the plan is to go to the Curragh."
Alder, who was beaten a length and three-quarters by the Aidan O'Brien-trained San Antonio, will be heading to Epsom.
The son of Australia is a 25-1 chance with Betfred for Epsom glory.
O'Brien confirmed: "We're aiming at the Epsom Derby. I think it is an open race. I think he got in a poor position at Chester off a very slow pace, on ground he wouldn't like, and he just hung in behind the winner in the last furlong.
"But I think it was a very decent run from him. We think he's a good horse and he's going to be a much better horse on better ground over a mile and a half."
Piz Badile, who was runner-up in last season's Irish Derby before a somewhat disappointing run when seven lengths behind Onesto in the Grand Prix de Paris at ParisLongchamp, will bid to break his Group One duck at the Curragh on Sunday week.
He made his return from a 10-month absence when a three-length third to Visualisation in the Group Two Mooresbridge at the Curragh two weeks ago.
"The plan is to go to the Tattersalls Gold Cup on Guineas weekend," O'Brien added. "Again, I thought it was a very adequate comeback from him.
"It was a mess of a race. They went very slow, so the plan is to go to there and there's a chance he could be going back to a mile and a half after that, but we'll see.
"He was probably a little bit backward at two and three. He ran very well in the Irish Derby and then he went to France, which was another case of a typical French race that didn't suit him.
"I thought his comeback was a good run. When things do go right for him, then I think we'll get a feel for whether he is going to be proper Group One horse, but I just don't think he has had the chance to show if he is."