Anthony Van Dyck on course for Derby double for O’Brien

Prendergast hoping Madhmoon can improve on his fine third-place finish at Epsom

 Seamie Heffernan riding Anthony Van Dyck to victory in  The Investec Derby Stakes at Epsom. O’Brien’s runner will bid for a double in the  Irish Derby at the Curragh. Photograph:  Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Seamie Heffernan riding Anthony Van Dyck to victory in The Investec Derby Stakes at Epsom. O’Brien’s runner will bid for a double in the Irish Derby at the Curragh. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

 

Anthony Van Dyck headlines Aidan O’Brien’s six contenders for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday.

The Investec Derby winner, who will be ridden by Ryan Moore after Seamie Heffernan partnered him to glory at Epsom last time out, will bid to complete a double last achieved by Harzand in 2016.

Broome, who was fourth at Epsom, Norway, Il Paradiso, Sovereign and Western Australia remain in the mix for Ballydoyle.

“At the moment it looks like Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, Norway and Sovereign, and we still have to decide on Western Australia and Il Paradiso,” said O’Brien, speaking at a press morning for the race.

“Ryan always rides the number one and that is obviously Anthony Van Dyck, that’s the way it always is in a Derby.”

Kevin Prendergast’s Madhmoon is the biggest threat to O’Brien’s dominance. He overcame a troubled run to finish a fine third at Epsom.

Prendergast, who turns 87 in a few weeks’ time, said: “My father won the Irish Derby winner four times, the first one being Dark Warrior in 1950. Madhmoon is a good horse and hopefully he has a good chance. He’s got a battalion to beat, but hopefully he can act as well as he did at Epsom and we might get a result.

“All the horses that ran in the Derby have run creditably since, I think there were two winners at Royal Ascot out of it. Aidan said it was one of the better Derbys that he’s had horses to run in, so hopefully he was right.

“He’s absolutely bombing – he’s in great form and couldn’t be better.”

Chris Hayes rides Madhmoon and said of Epsom: “To go down by half a length because of things you can’t control, it was a bitter pill to swallow but hopefully we can put it right on his next start.

“I think the Curragh will suit him better. Epsom is very demanding and you need things to go right, as I found out. The Curragh is a fair track and I’d imagine he’ll be much more at home, it’s also just five minutes up the road which has to be a positive.

“I don’t think the occasion got to him, everything went right until the road crossing which set him racing sooner than I wanted. We were half a length off being perfect, hopefully we can put that right.”

In the same Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum ownership as Madhmoon is Dermot Weld’s progressive Sea The Stars colt Rakan.

Completing the list is Joseph O’Brien’s Buckhurst and Jim Bolger’s Guaranteed.

Big impression

Siskin and Monarch Of Egypt are on course for a mouthwatering clash in the Gain Railway Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday. The Group Two has 10 confirmations, including Coventry Stakes winner Arizona, a stablemate of Monarch Of Egypt.

Ger Lyons confirmed Siskin is set to run having resisted the temptation to take him to Ascot last week. The Khalid Abdullah-owned colt has created a big impression in winning his first two races.

“In the Railway, we run Siskin. We didn’t bother going to Ascot and I’d like to think the drying ground will suit,” said Lyons.

Aidan O’Brien has an incredible record in the race having won it 13 times and he needs one more to draw level with the great Vincent O’Brien.

Monarch Of Egypt, a son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, was O’Brien’s first juvenile runner of the season at Naas in April and won easily. He then suffered a setback which ruled him out of Ascot, but is ready to return now.

“We’re thinking of Monarch Of Egypt for the Railway. He had a little setback which meant he missed Ascot and he’s just ready to start back, but he might go there,” said O’Brien.

Fort Myers, King Neptune, Mount Fuji and Royal Lytham have also been entered by O’Brien.

Kevin Ryan’s Doncaster winner Romero, Gerard O’Leary’s Real Force and Jim Bolger’s newcomer Arranmore complete the possibles.

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