The 150th running of Ireland’s premier classic features the clash of the Epsom runner-up with four colts which finished behind him in the Investec Derby, the French Derby second plus Investec Oaks winner Qualify.
And, sure to be better suited to the Curragh than Epsom, Jack Hobbs is a confident choice to give Godolphin its second Irish Derby success, twenty-one years after Balanchine, the last filly to win the race.
Jack Hobbs, a son of Halling, is lightly raced, having made his belated debut at Wolverhampton over Christmas.
But he has come a long way in a short time, building on a runaway win (off 85) in a Sandown handicap in April to chase home star stable-companion Golden Horn in both the Dante and Investec Derby.
Gosden’s charge was simply outpaced by Golden Horn in the final furlong at Epsom, but finished clear of the third Storm The Stars, one of four colts which take him on again here.
But, with more improvement expected from Jack Hobbs, he should confirm that Epsom form and might have most to fear from Aidan O’Brien’s challengers, notably French derby runner-up Highland Reel, the mount of Ryan Moore, and Qualify, narrow winner of the Investec Oaks, which will be reunited with Colm O’Donoghue.
Beaten by New Bay in the French Derby, Highland Reel could prove the biggest threat, stepping-up to a mile and a half for the first time, while it will be fascinating to see how Qualify fares.
On the supporting card, Log Out Island, collared late by Waterloo Bridge in the Norfolk at Royal Ascot last week, might gain compensation in the GAIN Railway Stakes for Richard Hannon, who won the race with Kool Kompany last year.