Ryan Moore primed to tick Derby box
Curragh showpiece a notable classic gap for one of the world’s top riders
Wings Of Eagles wins the Epsom Derby from Cliffs Of Moher earlier this month. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Ryan Moore missed out on Wings Of Eagles’ shock 40-1 Epsom victory earlier this month but the jockey is set to try and secure a first Dubai Duty Irish Derby success this Sunday on the Aidan O’Brien trained star.
Frankie Dettori’s absence due to injury robs this weekend’s €1.5 million Curragh highlight of a classic clash between the Italian and his great English rival as Wings Of Eagles and the Epsom third, Cracksman, continue to dominate betting for Ireland’s premier classic.
Dettori will also miss next week’s Eclipse and won’t return to action until Newmarket’s July meeting at the earliest due to an arm injury sustained at Yarmouth earlier this month.
Padraig Beggy was in the Wings Of Eagles hot-seat when the colt confounded the odds and beat Moore on the O’Brien first-string Cliffs Of Moher in dramatic fashion at Epsom.
Ballydoyle had six starters on that occasion, but with Cliffs Of Moher waiting for next week’s Eclipse, and Venice Beach not certain to start, the O’Brien team could be cut to four for this weekend’s big race.
Capri, Douglas Macarthur and The Anvil are again getting a classic chance but there’s no disputing who Ballydoyle’s number one hope is as Wings Of Eagles is disputing 5-2 favouritism with Cracksman. The colt could fill in a notable classic gap for one of the world’s top riders.
In five Irish Derby rides to date, Moore has finished runner-up on Idaho a year ago, third on Tartan Bearer in 2008, fourth on the Queen’s Carlton House in 2011 and fifth on Highland Reel in 2015.
His only other ride in Ireland’s premier classic was a seventh on Al Shemali a decade ago behind Soldier Of Fortune and victory on Saturday would complete the 33-year-olds collection of Europe’s top Derby prizes.
Moore has won the Epsom Derby twice on Workforce (2010) and Ruler Of The World (2013.) He also won the Prix du Jockey Club three years ago on The Grey Gatsby.
Cracksman’s trainer, John Gosden, won the Irish Derby two years ago with Jack Hobbs and despite the unlikely 40-1 SP he is convinced there was no fluke about the Epsom success of Wings of Eagles.
“I think Wings Of Eagles was very impressive in the Derby. I’m very clear in my mind he would have been an unlucky loser. He was stopped twice in running and still won it. I don’t think it was fluke,” reported the former British champion trainer.
Cracksman has almost a length to make up on Epsom form but Gosden added: “The Curragh is a lovely track and I think it will probably suit our horse. He’s in great from and I’m very happy with him.”
Last year’s Derby winner Pat Smullen will be in action at Ballinrobe on Tuesday evening where he teams up with Willie Mullins for High Haven in a maiden. The filly ‘won’ on her Curragh debut earlier this month but was disqualified for causing interference.