Good ground at Curragh ahead of Derby meet

Conditions at the Curragh have eased to good after 13 millimetres of rain fell ahead of the three-day Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby meeting which starts on Friday.

“We’ve had 13 millimetres of rain and there’s more rain forecast. The going will be updated tomorrow morning. The forecast is unsettled,” said a racecourse spokeswoman.

Casual Conquest, third in the Vodafone Derby, was the best backed horse ahead of Sunday’s Classic on Thursday, with Dermot Weld’s colt cut to 6-1 from 7-1 with Ladbrokes and 5-1 from 13-2 with VC Bet.

Ladbrokes’ David Williams said: “Casual Conquest is the only attractive alternative to New Approach at this stage of the betting.”

Neal Wilkins, from VC Bet, added: “Dermot Weld’s colt proved extremely popular on Thursday and we eventually had to cut the Derby third from 13-2 to 5-1 for Sunday’s Classic.

“Clearly a big run is expected and he could be better suited by the Curragh than he was by Epsom’s gradients.”

Casual Conquest was supplemented at a cost of £75,000 at Epsom and was having only the third race of his career.

He now has the chance to reverse form with New Approach and Tartan Bearer, who finished ahead of him three weeks ago.

The latter’s connections are looking forward to taking their revenge on the winner.

Tartan Bearer was having just his fourth race, and his first at Group One level, when running last season’s champion two-year-old to half a length at Epsom.

“He ran a wonderful race at Epsom. He wouldn’t have had that much experience, he’s learning all the time and I was absolutely delighted the way he ran. Hopefully he can improve on that at the Curragh on Sunday,” said Peter Reynolds, racing manager for owners Ballymacoll Stud.

“It’s not so much a race, it’s a bit like a penalty shoot out. Kevin (Manning, rider of New Approach) got the first one in and now it’s our turn. We can get back at him.

“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t have a wonderful opportunity.

“The Curragh is a level, galloping track and should suit our horse – he stays very well. I walked the track yesterday it was good, good to firm in places I’d say.

“They’ve had rain today and will probably get more rain before Sunday, it should be perfect ground.

“They say you never get out of a race for one horse and we’re there hopefully with the great opportunity. It’s a long time since we won the Irish Derby with Troy in 1979, so I think we deserve another chance,” Reynolds told At The Races.

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, Ladbrokes bet: 4-5 New Approach, 7-2 Tartan Bearer, 6-1 Casual Conquest, 12-1 Alessandro Volta, 16-1 Centennial, Curtain Call, Washington Irving, 20-1 bar.

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