Irish Derby Preview: Saxon Warrior eased with 11 rivals set to line up
Nick Murphy | 28 June 2018
Latest odds for 2018 Irish Derby
Saxon Warrior remains the odds-on favourite to win this weekend’s Irish Derby after he was confirmed to face 11 rivals at the Curragh.
Aidan O’Brien’s star is 8/13 to land the Irish Classic, out from 1/2 earlier in the week, as he bids to return to winning ways following his fourth-place finish in the Epsom Derby earlier in the month.
The son of Galileo was given a rotten draw that day and was held up in the closing stages as Masar clinched an unlikely triumph to end Saxon Warrior’s unbeaten career record.
Regardless, the three-year-old handled the step-up to 1m 4f well and will go off as favourite in Ireland as a result.
His trainer has a formidable record in this event too, having won nine of the last 12 runnings of the Irish Derby. He triumphed last year with Capri, who would go onto win the St Leger at Doncaster.
Most Likely Challenger
Mark Johnston’s charge, Dee Ex Bee, has been pencilled in as the main opposition to the jolly on Saturday. Our traders make him the comfortable second-favourite at 4/1.
The Godolphin colt put on a mighty show at Epsom last time out and found only Masar too hot as he returned home second at 20/1. That’s two runner-up finishes in a row for the son of Farhh who looks to be building a solid staying reputation in Pattern Company.
Johnson clearly fancies him for this renewal and he provides the main opposition to O’Brien’s Warrior, who is looking to avoid becoming the seventh favourite to be turned over in British and Irish Classics this season.
Old Persian triumphed in scintillating fashion at Royal Ascot last week and is next best in the market at 10/1. The three-year-old saw off nine rivals to clinch the King Edward VII Stakes by just over a length to give trainer Charlie Appleby yet another big race win.
The trainer now has a Group 1 victory at Royal Ascot to go alongside his Epsom Derby win with Masar and Breeders’ Cup success with Wuheida. His fancy in this race has progressed nicely over the last 12 months and looks more than comfortable over the distance.
There’s then a further drop back to the dangerous Delano Roosevelt at 16/1 before Platinum Warrior, Knight To Behold and Latrobe at 20/1.
The first and last horses of that trio take the Coral News Team’s interest having finished 1-2 in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at The Curragh last time out.
Platinum Warrior stayed on well that day to edge his rival by a shade over 2l to secure his first black-type victory and his first success over the 1m 2f. He looks ready for another step-up in trip. But he’ll have to go some to replicate Assert, who was the last winner of the Gallinule and the Irish Derby in the same season back in 1982.
King Edward VII Stakes second Rostropovich could also be a player at 33/1.
What does David Stevens say?
“At the start of the week it looked possible that Saxon Warrior could be facing a small field in Saturday’s race.”
“But the presence of eleven rivals, headed by the Investec Derby runner-up and a Royal Ascot winner, ensures that while he remains odds-on favourite for the Irish Derby, we’re happy to ease his odds,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
**Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby
8-13 Saxon Warrior, 4 Dee Ex Bee, 10 Old Persian, 16 Delano Roosevelt, 20 Platinum Warrior, Knight To Behold, Latrobe, 25 The Pentagon, 33 Bandua, Rostropovich, 50 Carlo Biraghi, 100 Theobal.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing