Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Racing

Dunlop targeting Khan improvement

Ed Dunlop is confident Native Khan can improve on his promising fifth in the Derby at Epsom when he goes for glory in Sunday's Dubai Duty Free-sponsored Irish equivalent.

It is the grey's third bid for Classic success, having placed third behind Frankel in the 2000 Guineas before running well on his first try at a mile and a half. Johnny Murtagh took the ride for the first time at Epsom and the partnership will be maintained at the Curragh this weekend.

"I think he got a little bit trapped down on the rail at Epsom. It was Johnny's first time riding the horse and he felt he could have finished a length and a half closer," Dunlop told his website,

"He is such a good mover and he floats over fast ground, so the more it dries out the better, but he came out of Epsom great and this is his last chance of running against the Classic generation.

"He showed in the Derby that he stays the mile and a half, though he is versatile enough to drop back to 10 furlongs should we so wish, and he only needs to find a little improvement to reverse the form with the others.

"Johnny is adamant that, while the Curragh is more of a stamina track than Epsom, it will suit Native Khan better, so we go there with a good shout."

Native Khan has ground to make up on Epsom runner-up Treasure Beach, third-placed Carlton House and fourth home Memphis Tennessee, but Murtagh remains hopeful.

"I'm looking forward to riding him again. He ran a good race in Epsom. He has a couple of lengths to make up, but hopefully he can do that. I think the Curragh will suit him well and hopefully he'll run a big race," said the jockey.

A total of eight runners are set to go to post, with Epsom disappointment Seville joining fellow Aidan O'Brien inmates Treasure Beach, Memphis Tennessee and Roderic O'Connor. Dunboyne Express and Notable Graduate complete the field.


From Belfast Telegraph