Sunday 25 March 2018

McDonogh: trip will suit Cloud

Little White Cloud (left)
Little White Cloud (left)

Jockey Declan McDonogh expects an "improved" Little White Cloud to benefit from the step up in trip in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

McDonogh, in his first season as stable jockey to Little White Cloud's trainer John Oxx, feels a mile and a half should be well within the son of Dalakhani's compass.

Having won a Dundalk maiden in November, the grey has finished third in the Derrinstown Derby Trial and second in the Gallinule Stakes, where he was behind subsequent Royal Ascot winner Leading Light.

"Stepping up to a mile and a half should really suit him being from the same family as Millenary and all those good stayers," McDonogh told At The Races.

"He put up a good show against Leading Light, who went and won the Queen's Vase. He's tough and he handles fast ground, so hopefully they won't get too much rain. I think he'll run a good race.

"He wasn't far behind Battle Of Marengo (in the Derrinstown) and we think he's improved a lot since then, the trip should be right up his street and he should run a good race."

Johnny Murtagh, now a trainer as well as still a leading jockey, won on two of O'Brien's winners, Fame And Glory and Cape Blanco, as well as Oxx's Alamshar, and he has a sneaking feeling Little White Cloud could outrun his odds, but thinks the favourite will be hard to beat.

"I think it's an open enough Derby, there's a couple of horses there with not much between them," said Murtagh.

"The Godolphin horse (Libertarian) has a few lengths to make up on Aidan's, obviously, but Aidan's horses always seem to improve a little bit when they get back to the Curragh.

"Little White Cloud is a horse I rode for John and I always thought he was an Irish Derby horse, a mile and a half, fast ground, the Curragh - that might suit him. Whether he's good enough to win it, I don't know, but he'll run a good race."

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