2019 Irish Derby preview: Epsom trio take each other on again in Curragh Classic

14th September 2021

2019 Irish Derby preview

Less than three-quarters of a length separated the winner and fifth in the Epsom Derby, and three of the first four home re-oppose in the Irish equivalent at The Curragh on Saturday (17:20).

Anthony Van Dyck won the premier English Classic and bids to complete yet another Derby double for all-conquering trainer Aidan O’Brien.

This Galileo colt had a lot of racing as a juvenile but progressed nicely until running into Quorto in the 7f Group 1 National Stakes on Irish Champions weekend here.

He was far from disgraced in going down 1 1/4 lengths then or when third to champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Although Anthony Van Dyck was beaten by four lengths, the runner-up and fourth horses home joined him in advertising the form this season.

Advertise captured the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup and Sangarius landed the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Anthony Van Dyck then went to the Breeders’ Cup at the end of a lengthy campaign and finished ninth.

He left that run behind, however, when readily winning on reappearance in the Lingfield Derby Trial when stepped up to an extended 1m 3f.

Although fancied, Anthony Van Dyck was a weak favourite but he led approaching the final furlong and was soon in command. That punched his ticket to Epsom where he found and overcame trouble in-running.

A wall of horses meant Anthony Van Dyck didn’t get a clear run, but when a gap appeared he zipped through it to lead inside the last 100 yards and score by half-a-length.

He is entitled to be favourite off the back of that effort, but odds of 5/4 with Betway are plenty short enough with major rivals having so little to find.

Madhmoon may have more to offer

Kevin Prendergast’s father Paddy won the Irish Derby four times in the 1950s and 1960s, and the veteran handler has a leading contender in the shape of Epsom runner-up Madhmoon.

This New Approach colt won both of his starts as juvenile, landing the Group 2 over a mile at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend under a hands and heels ride.

Madhmoon has since confirmed that form with Broome, who re-opposes here.

He hasn’t scored since, but instead run some huge races in defeat including when a 4 1/2 lengths fourth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Madhmoon may have been an unlucky loser at Epsom last time out as he clipped heels and stumbled four out.

It looked as though he recovered quickly enough, however, and posted rapid sectionals when making a move approaching the two furlong marker.

Perhaps Madhmoon made his challenge too early, but he still stuck to the task well to go down fighting.

As he also got back up in the final stride to regain second, it was a gutsy effort.

At the odds on offer, Madhmoon is twice the price of Anthony Van Dyck at 5/2 with BetVictor and that disparity is too big given how the race panned out.

The Curragh is a very different track to Epsom with an emphasis on galloping rather than needing to handle undulations. That could suit Madhmoon better than the sharp course on the Surrey Downs.

A bold bid to go one better looks assured. There is less to find on the bare form than 1lb difference between Madhmoon and Anthony Van Dyck, so placings could be reversed.

Broome also in the frame

The aforementioned Broome has twice lost out to Madhmoon, but third time may be the charm as he has just a head to find from their Epsom encounter.

Also trained by Ballydoyle maestro, this son of Australia landed two key Classic trials at Leopardstown en route to the English Derby.

Broome is a hold-up performer who has been best with some give in the ground.

He has also been effective on sounder surfaces though, as demonstrated when held a neck by Royal Marine in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere over a mile at Longchamp last season.

Both of his impressive and comfortable successes this season were at Leopardstown in the Ballysax Stakes and Derby Trial.

Broome may just have no extra in the dying strides with respect to Anthony Van Dyck, but it took a photo to separate the minor honours.

As he is 10lb and upwards clear of the remainder on official ratings, the places really do look at the mercy of Anthony Van Dyck, Broome and Madhmoon.

There is precious little to choose between them, yet despite a 100/30 price with Coral, Broome has to prove he is better than both his major rivals.

As he’s zero from two against both Anthony Van Dyck and Madhmoon, he is worth taking on.

Rakan and Norway best of rest in Irish Derby

Everything else in the eight-runner field is 20/1 or bigger at the time of writing. They have tons to find on official figures with Rakan and Norway next in the betting.

It’s hard to fancy either, because the former has almost five lengths to find on Broome from the Derby Trial.

Although the form of Rakan’s subsequent King George V Cup win over Barbados was franked by the runner-up finishing second in the Queen’s Vase, this demands more.

Dermot Weld’s charge is lightly-raced compared to some in the field though. There could be more to come from Rakan after just four starts, yet a major step up is needed.

Norway is yet another O’Brien mount hastily turned out after flopping in the Queen’s Vase.

Although eased close home, it was really hard going at Royal Ascot on very soft ground.

That tough race was just 10 days ago and, prior to it, Norway was eighth at Epsom.

There is no real reason why he should worry the market leaders as, unlike stable companions Japan and Circus Maximus who have come out and won since, he disappointed.

A reverse forecast with Anthony Van Dyck and Madhmoon looks the most solid bet on offer for the 2019 Irish Derby. Broome should also make the frame, but everything else is playing for minor places.

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