Approach heads Curragh contenders

The big three contenders for Sunday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh are among a field of 14.

The big three contenders for Sunday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh are among a field of 14.

New Approach, Tartan Bearer and Casual Conquest, the first three home in the Epsom equivalent, are all set to reoppose as the first-named attempts to emulate his sire Galileo in adding the Curragh event to his CV.

Others that ran at Epsom include fourth-placed Doctor Fremantle, Luca Cumani’s Curtain Call (10th) and the Aidan O’Brien-trained quartet of Washington Irving (fifth), Alessandro Volta (sixth), Bashkirov (15th) and Frozen Fire (11th).

O’Brien could also run Hindu Kush and Wassily Kandinsky.

John Gosden will run his Sandown Classic Trial winner Centennial while stable companion Upton Grey has been supplemented as a pacemaker.

Upton Grey is owned by Princess Haya Of Jordan, who also owns New Approach.

Dermot Weld has left in Winchester despite his slightly disappointing run at Ascot last week but there is no denying his best hope lies with Casual Conquest.

“He’s a lovely big horse and still very immature but a very good one,” said Weld.

“We’re hopeful (he can get his revenge). It’s going to be another great race. It’s going to be very tough to reverse the places with the first two but we’ll try.

“We think he’ll be better suited by the Curragh but you could say the same about the others as well.

“Epsom these days is a very fair track, there’s no excuses. He handled the track at Epsom and he’s come out of the race sound and well and we are looking forward to Sunday and the Irish Derby.

“For a very big horse he is a very balanced horse and I think he has learned from Epsom. I’d be very hopeful of a big run on Sunday.

“He’s more similar to my second Derby winner Grey Swallow rather than Zagreb as he’s a stayer with speed.

“I think this year’s Epsom Derby was a very good race, a vintage renewal, and I’m confident he’ll run a big race,” he told At The Races.

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