Dylan set for Champion date

Dylan Thomas is likely to drop back in distance for the Baileys Irish Champion Stakes following his scintillating performance in the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Dylan Thomas is likely to drop back in distance for the Baileys Irish Champion Stakes following his scintillating performance in the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Sent off the 9-2 favourite for the Irish Classic, the mount of Kieren Fallon made the race look very one-sided with a burst of speed just over a furlong out that propelled him clear.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Danehill pulled right away from a high-class field – which included the French Derby first and second Darsi and Best Name in addition to the Italian Derby hero Gentlewave – to score by three and a half lengths.

Gentlewave (11-2) under Johnny Murtagh came through to take second while Sir Michael Stoute’s Best Alibi (9-1) was a further length and a half back in third.

O’Brien said of his charge, who took third in the Epsom equivalent: “He was very impressive and has got a lot of natural speed.

“Epsom was only his second start of the season so he probably – like most of ours – came on for the race.”

O’Brien had expressed concerns before Epsom that Dylan Thomas may struggle to see out the trip and despite his Curragh triumph, a drop back in distance could be on the cards.

“He’s got so much pace that we could take him back to a mile and a quarter so we have plenty of options – it is a lovely position to be in,” he continued.

“Where he runs now will depend on Hurricane Run and where he goes but we’ll seriously consider running him in the Irish Champion Stakes (at Leopardstown on September 9).”

Fallon added: “Turning for home I didn’t think I was going to get a run but it opened up for me and he quickened through the gap – he was very impressive.

“I had a decent position early on but I just got shuffled out of it and we were getting really tight against the rail. But I persevered and when the gaps opened he was just electric.

“The way he has won, wherever you take him he is going to be impressive. He is something special – he has trounced a seriously good field and to do it like that says something.”

Dylan Thomas has been installed as a 7-1 chance by William Hill for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, while VC Bet and Coral go 8-1 and Cashmans 12-1 for the Longchamp feature on October 1.

Murtagh said of French raider Gentlewave: “He’s still immature but is a lovely horse with a big future.

“He was never really going to win – Kieren went up the inner but I had to pull out and come round two others and I was never going to get to him after that.”

Stoute was delighted with the performance of Vodafone Derby sixth Best Alibi, and said: “He had every chance and I’m very pleased.

“I think the trip may have just stretched him a little so I’ll probably drop him back to 10 furlongs.”

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