O’Briens confident Ruler of the World can best Derby field
‘We have been very happy with him . He impressed us at Epsom and we think the Curragh will suit him even better’
Ruler Of The World in fine form ahead of Irish Derby at the Curragh. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire
Joseph O’Brien is confident Ruler Of The World can maintain his unbeaten record and hand father Aidan a remarkable 11th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday evening.
The master of Ballydoyle has saddled the likes of Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002) and last year’s hero Camelot to win Ireland’s premier Classic, with that trio all succeeding on the back of Epsom Derby glory.
Ruler Of The World, ridden by Ryan Moore at Epsom, bids to follow in their hoofprints at the Curragh, with the trainer’s son getting back on board for the first time since he won his maiden at the track in April.
O’Brien jnr, who claimed his first Irish Derby aboard Camelot a year ago, said: “He’s an exciting horse. He’s won three times from three runs and he won very nicely the last day at Epsom so we’re looking forward to it.
“He was ready to run early as a two-year-old and he was in the Chesham (at Royal Ascot) until very late on, he was going to run but then he got a little cough. They couldn’t shift the cough for the rest of the year but he’s a very exciting horse.
“You’d be hoping he’ll improve for the experience of Epsom, the Curragh is a fair track and he’s won there already,” the jockey told At The Races.
O’Brien senior, who has won the last seven Irish Derbies, added: “We have been very happy with him (since Epsom). He impressed us at Epsom and we think the Curragh will suit him even better.”
Likely pacesetter Festive Cheer, the mount of Séamie Heffernan, also runs for the Ballydoyle team.
Renewing rivalries with Ruler Of The World is Epsom runner-up Libertarian. A shock winner of the Dante Stakes at York, the three-year-old proved that was no fluke with a fantastic effort at Epsom and he emerged with extra credit given he did not appear to handle the undulating track.
He has since been snapped up by Godolphin and is set to make his final start for North Yorkshire trainer Elaine Burke this weekend.
The trainer’s husband, Karl, believes the stable star is open to more improvement than most from Epsom.
Burke said: “He’s going there in great form. I’ve been very happy with his work since Epsom and I’m sure he has improved. Physically he looks a more mature horse than he was going into Epsom and I think mentally he has sharpened up as well.
“Considering he did not handle the track that well at Epsom, he did extremely well to finish as close as he did. Certainly you would think the Curragh will suit him better. The track should play to his strengths.