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Family battle as the O'Briens eye Ulster Derby joy

Down Royal

By Ron McKnight

The O'Briens dominate the 28 entries for this year's Ulster Derby, sponsored by Magners. Father Aidan has six engaged in Saturday's £100,000 feature, and son Joseph has four.

Barbados and South Pacific are the most eye-catching of Aidan's sextet, while Eminent Authority is the top-rated of Joseph's quartet.

Jim Bolger has trained four winners in the last five runnings of the feature and has a trio engaged this time with Cuban Hope, Operatic Export and Halimi possibles to represent him.

The most valuable flat contest in the province has attracted two British entries in the Archie Watson-trained Kashagan and Skymax, trained by Ralph Beckett.

Navan trainer Noel Meade has Dadoozdart, Red Gerry and Laura Bullion to choose from in the race.

Irish Champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has the progressive Micro Manage entered, and he is the current top weight.

Dermot Weld is doubly represented by Hasankey and Zuenoon.

Meanwhile, Meade travels to Royal Ascot today with Snow Falcon, owned by Mrs Patricia Hunt from Belfast.

With Irish Champion flat jockey Colin Keane booked, he could make his presence felt in the Ascot Stakes over two and a half miles.

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