High-Rise misses Derby

City Honours is the new favourite for Sunday's Budweiser Irish Derby after the shock defection of his Epsom conqueror, High-Rise…

City Honours is the new favourite for Sunday's Budweiser Irish Derby after the shock defection of his Epsom conqueror, High-Rise, yesterday. High-Rise was not supplemented for the Curragh classic, a decision taken after consultations between trainer Luca Cumani and Anthony Stroud, racing manager to High-Rise's owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

Cumani said: "The horse is in good form but we have decided to give him a bit more time between races so we can go straight for the King George (July 25th) in good shape.

"We just didn't want to subject him to another hard race before the King George. There is also the fact that it would cost £75,000 to supplement him and the King George is free. If we don't overdo him now, hopefully we'll still have a horse in the autumn."

That High-Rise will now follow the route taken by Lammtarra in 1995 rather than that of Cumani's previous Derby winner, Kahyasi, in 1988 is a blow for the Curragh, who were hoping to stage the first clash between the English and French Derby winners since 1993.


The Prix du Jockey Club winner, Dream Well, will now bid to follow in the footsteps of Assert (1982) and Old Vic (1989) and add the Irish Derby to his list.

However, he is only second choice in the ante-post market behind Godolphin's City Honours, beaten a head by High-Rise at Epsom but reportedly impressing in his work since then.

Paddy Power make City Honours their 13 to 8 favourite, with Dream Well on 11 to 4. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Risk Material is next on 7 to 1, followed by stable companion Saratoga Springs, Noel Meade's Sunshine Street and Henry Cecil's Sadian on 8 to 1. Just 10 horses remain in the race.

John Murtagh will know today whether he will be claimed to ride Takarian or if he will be free for Sunshine Street, fourth at Epsom.

Takarian's trainer John Oxx said yesterday: "We have no made no decision yet as to where he goes. He's in the German Derby the following weekend, so we'll see."

Sunshine Street's trainer Noel Meade was non-committal on alternative riding arrangements if Murtagh can't ride his colt. "He's very well, but I'd like it to stop raining and obviously I'd like Johnny to ride. He should be able to let me know tomorrow after riding Takarian in work."

Dermot Weld described the 25 to 1 shot, Make No Mistake, as "a definite runner no matter what, and Pat Smullen will ride". Weld has supplemented Stage Affair for the Group Three Curragh Cup, also on Sunday. "He worried a fair bit before the Hardwicke at Ascot but he's OK now, and Pat Shanahan rides."

Six have been left in the Group Two International Stakes, including last year's St James Palace Stakes winner, Starborough.

Six of the 14 juveniles in the Group Three Railway Stakes are trained by Aidan O'Brien.

Powers Derby Betting: 13/8 City Honours, 11/4 Dream Well, 7/1 Risk Material, 8/1 Saratoga Springs, Sunshine Street and Sadian 16/1 Campo Catino and Takarian, 25/1 Make No Mistake, 40/1 Desert Fox.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column