Irish Derby: Native can spoil the Queen’s party
Native Khan, expected to be much better suited to the Curragh than Epsom, can improve on his fifth place in the Derby by winning the Irish version tomorrow ahead of the Queen’s horse Carlton House.
It will be the first time a horse owned by a member of the British Royal family has run in the Irish Derby.
Her Majesty's racing manager John Warren is looking forward to seeing Carlton House, third in the Epsom Derby, in action again.
“It's all very exciting and we're thrilled that the horse has come out of Epsom extremely well,” said Warren.
“I'm thrilled for the Queen as that has given her something to very much look forward to this weekend.
“It would be a great achievement for the Queen in her career as a racehorse owner to have a Derby winner.
“Sadly, she is unable to attend,” he added.
Carlton House was considered unlucky to finish third in the Derby just when it looked as if he might catch Treasure Beach, one of four horses in tomorrow’s race trained by Aidan O’Brien and one that will certainly go close.
O’Brien’s other horses are Memphis Tennessee, who ran well in the Derby for a long time, Roderic O’Connor — winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas — and Seville.
There is also a great deal of confidence behind not only Native Khan but Dunboyne Express, trained by Kevin Prendergast.
Dermot Weld has high hopes of Notable Gratitude, ridden by Pat Smullen.
Jockey Johnny Murtagh — who has won the race four times — rides Native Khan and is quietly confident.
Murtagh, who rode Native Khan at Epsom, said: “It was nice to get a feel of the horse and I’m sure the Curragh would suit him much better.
“We’ve only got a few principals to make up on and I hope we are capable of reversing the form.”
Native Khan was rejected by Kieren Fallon for the Epsom Derby and the ensuing court case cost the former champion jockey a ride in the big race.
Murtagh then got the mount and Khan wasn’t far behind the first four horses at the finish.
The winner was the French horse Pour Moi with Treasure Beach second, Carlton House third and Memphis Tennessee fourth.
It could be that this will be the first English-trained winner of the Irish Derby since 1994 when Balanchine was successful.
Balanchine won for the Godolphin stable and since then it has been Irish winners all the way.
Trainer Ed Dunlop will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father John who was successful in the race and may do so with Khan.
Carlton House won the Dante Stakes at York in May but suffered a setback during his preparation for Epsom.
It looks to me as though there is a big chance for Khan who could win at a big price for Murtagh.
SELECTIONS: 1.40 Shukhov 2.10 Choir 2.40 Still Point 3.10 Inxile 3.50 Native Khan 4.30 Celendine 5.00 Creekside 5.30 Elusive Award