The Irish Derby takes centre stage this weekend at the Curragh as Saxon Warrior looks to banish memories of his first career defeat in the Epsom version.
Aidan O’Brien’s charge didn’t appear to relish the mile and a half trip there and it might pay to stick with a horse that had three lengths to spare on him.
O’Brien is a master-trainer and he is confident, though not bullish, that Saxon Warrior will get the trip in the Irish Derby. The visuals of Epsom don’t immediately support that notion.
Granted, Ryan Moore’s mount used plenty of petrol early in the race from stall one but he wasn’t closing in the run to the line like a colt that wanted the trip. He has something to prove over this distance and he has those three lengths to find on Dee Ex Bee.
Mark Johnston meanwhile has suggested his Farhh colt is a ‘guaranteed stayer’, something that looked likely in his powerful staying on second to Masar at Epsom. Connections have stumped up €100,000 to supplement into this race. Dee Ex Bee was denied running room in the Chester Vase (second) on his first try and lost nothing in defeat behind Masar last time.
At the prices he looks worth backing to confirm superiority over this trip.
The Northumberland Plate is always a highlight at Newcastle and it is typically wide open again this year, but there may be some value in chancing Natural Scenery to improve on last year’s second.
Saeed bin Suroor’s charge has figures on Tapeta of 1112 and, after a spring campaign in Dubai, is likely to be primed to the minute for this race as he gets back in from a 2lb lower mark compared to 12 months ago.
Cesarewitch winner Withhold is greatly respected on his first start back despite a hefty rise in the weights but the money has poured in for Roger Charlton’s runner already and he looks poor value at 7/2, despite the fact he could be classy.
Willie Mullins takes a punt here with Royal Ascot winner Lagostovegas. The mare has a 5lb penalty for that success however and doesn’t have the experience on an artificial surface.
Last year’s winner Higher Power is also respected after a good second last time at Chelmsford but Natural Scenery shades the verdict as an each-way proposition.
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