Ireland's premier flat race, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, returns to the Curragh on Saturday June 25th, with all eyes on the Irish horses in the field.
Eight runners will line-up including Aidan O'Brien-trained horse Tuesday, who rode home to victory at the Epsom Oaks.
The main opposition is set to come from Westover, trained by Ralph Beckett, with champion jockey Colin Keane taking over in the saddle. David Menuisier’s Lionel, the mount of Jamie Spencer, is a second British-trained raider.
Hannibal Barca, winner on his first start in Ireland last month, is Joseph O'Brien’s runner while Piz Badile will represent his brother Donnacha.
Paddy Twomey’s French Claim, the Andy Oliver-trained Glory Daze and Jim Bolger’s Boundless Ocean complete the line-up.
Saturday's race is one that will be filled with Irish intrigue, with few foreign runners taking to the post. Trainer Jim Bolger believes that this is down to the fact that foreign trainers do not believe they can beat Irish horses.
The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby
Speaking on Friday Night Racing, Bolger discussed the Irish-heavy field at the Curragh.
"They are not coming, because they know they can't beat our horses," Bolger said. "If they thought they could win a half a million plus, they'd be here.
"When St Jovite won, I think we hadn't won it for about 10 years. We got back into the swing shortly after that, and they stopped coming.
"Shergar came in 1982 or '83. He was the best horse around at that time. There's nothing wrong with the race. The only thing that's wrong is that some people are not as brave as they used to be because the competition in Ireland has gotten stronger."
🗣 'Nobody was feeling the heat more than Frankie!'@DavidJenningsRP looked at the rumoured split between Frankie Dettori and John Gosden after the Royal Ascot | 🏇
🗣 'This is something that... could have been dealt with behind closed doors'@HRIRacing | #EveryRacingMoment pic.twitter.com/VaVhMoopYI
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) June 24, 2022
Colin Keane could do the business
Much has been made of the fallout from the Royal Ascot between champion jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer John Godsen.
However, what has not been talked about too much is who could replace the legendary jockey in Godsen's yard if the rumoured split does happen.
While he is not yet at the heights of Dettori, Meath native Colin Keane could fill that slot, according to The Racing Post's David Jennings.
Keane rides Westover, the main rival to Tuesday on Saturday, and will be looking to repeat his performance from the Epsom Derby at the start of the month.
Speaking on Friday Night Racing, Jennings revealed why he believes the Keane-ridden Westover could get one over Tuesday in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
"If we are talking about people taking over from Frankie Dettori in the John Gosden job, if I was to produce a shortlist, Colin Keane would be very close to the top," Jennings said.
"He's had two rides in the race. He rode Van Gogh for Aidan O'Brien and he rode a horse for Ger Lyons that was a massive price.
"I think it's the perfect stage for Colin to show the world what Ireland has known for the last five or six years. He's a three-time champion jockey.
"I just think it's a really good call. It's a ballsy call to give him the ride in the race. You've got a jockey who rides the Curragh better than anyone else in the race.
"They are giving themselves the best chance of winning a derby. Not just a derby, a winnable derby. If he repeats his performance from Epsom, I think he's going to be very hard to beat.
"If he repeats that performance, I think he'll beat Tuesday."