Donn McClean: "He was a 40-1 shot which is a shock in anyone's language"

The racing expert joined Friday's Off the Ball ahead of the Irish Derby

BY Simon Maguire 21:23 Friday 30 June 2017, 21:23 30 Jun 2017

Aidan O'Brien. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

The Irish Derby is due to take place at the Curragh on Saturday with Aidan O'Brien looking to continue his incredible record at the event. 

Racing expert Donn McClean joined Friday's Off the Ball to preview the big race and asked why Wings of Eagles, who won the Epsom Derby, wasn't automatically installed as favourite, he said: "He was a shock winner, he was a 40-1 shot which is a shock in anyone's language.

"But, you know, he won it on merit. Directly after the race, I'm not sure he got the credit he deserved but looking back at the race, he was back in the field off a strong pace and that suited him.

"But, plenty of others were back in the field off a strong pace and he got into a little bit of trouble two furlongs out. Padraig Beggy had to switch him and he didn't have a clear run directly after that. 

"And he finished off his race, best of all, he only got home by three-quarters of a length. 

Wings of Eagles. Picture by: John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images

"It's difficult to argue he wasn't the best horse in the race on the day. Now, directly after the race, he wasn't named as favourite for the Irish Derby which was unusual. Normally the Epsom Derby winner is the automatic Irish Derby favourite if he's going for the race."

Legendary trainer Aidan O'Brien has five runners in the field and McClean was quick to praise the Irish trainer. "He has plenty of entries in the Irish Derby as is his want," he said, adding: "He actually won the Irish Derby for the first time 20 years ago. So it's the 20th anniversary of his first Irish Derby win and he's won 11 in total so he's got a phenomenal record in the Irish Derby. 

"It looks like Wings of Eagles, he was probably always going for it and then Douglas McArthur and Capri behind him in the Epsom Derby in sixth and seventh - they're renewing rivalries. 

Who does Donn think will win? You can listen to the full interview on Newstalk.com or on iTunes

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