Godolphin set to supplement recent purchase Libertarian for Irish Derby
Epsom hero Ruler Of The World favourite to do double
Ruler Of The World winning the MBNA Chester Vase in May. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Coolmore Stud’s Epsom hero Ruler Of The World remains a warm favourite for this Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby but today’s expected €75,000 outlay by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin team to supplement their new purchase Libertarian into Ireland’s premier Classic sets up a potentially epic battle at the Curragh between world racing’s two superpowers.
It is 21 years since St Jovite, runner-up at Epsom, famously reversed form with Dr Devious to the tune of a dozen lengths and the Godolphin team will aim for a similar result when they take on their bitterest rivals in Coolmore’s backyard this weekend.
Libertarian has a length and a half to make up on Ruler Of The World from Epsom but trainer Elaine Burke is convinced the Curragh should suit her star performer much better than Epsom where jockey William Buick also blamed a slow early pace for his defeat. Since then Libertarian has been purchased by a Godolphin operation still reeling from the effects of the steroid scandal which resulted in the disqualification of its former trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni.
Dawn Approach did hit back for the “Boys in Blue” with a thrilling Royal Ascot win last week and now Godolphin are prepared to pay up to give Libertarian a chance for revenge in a race famously dominated by Coolmore over the last decade and a half.
Last seven years
The Coolmore syndicate have been successful on a remarkable 11 occasions since the first of trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 10 wins with Desert King in 1997. O’Brien has won the race for the last seven years.
Unlike previous years, however, Ireland’s champion trainer is not expected to be mob-handed when today’s five-day declarations are made and with other home hopes likely to be carried by Sugar Boy, Trading Leather, and possibly Galileo Rock, the Curragh authorities are anticipating a much more open race than has been the case on occasions in recent years.
“Just from speaking to people, everyone seems to have an opinion on what might win, and there could be some great stories there. If Sugar Boy wins for instance, you have a young trainer starting out in Patrick Prendergast who has a huge family connection with the race.
“And in terms of our sponsors, a win for Libertarian and Sheikh Mohammed would be a great result for them,” said the Curragh manager Paul Hensey yesterday.