Saxon Warrior and Dee Ex Bee head final field of 12 runners in the Irish Derby

Saxon Warrior and Dee Ex Bee head final field of 12 runners in the Irish Derby

Saxon Warrior and Dee Ex Bee head a final field of 12 runners for Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh

Ireland's premier Classic has attracted the biggest field for an Irish Derby since 2006 as Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee looks to give trainer Mark Johnston his first success in the race and he is joined by strong British representation with Old Persian and Knight To Behold standing their ground at this morning’s declaration stage.

Following victory in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot last week Charlie Appleby supplemented Old Persian for the Irish Derby on Tuesday morning and William Buick will ride the son of Dubawi as the Newmarket based trainer looks to complete the English and Irish Derby double for Godolphin.

Frankie Dettori has been booked to ride Knight To Behold for trainer Harry Dunlop who is aiming to emulate his father, John, who won the Irish Derby in 1978 with Shirley Heights and Salsabil in 1990.

Aidan O’Brien's English 2,000 Guineas winner Saxon Warrior is joined in the field by stable companions, Delano Roosevelt, Rostropovich and The Pentagon.

Joseph O'Brien, successful in the race as a jockey aboard Cameot and Australia, will have his first runner as a trainer when legging his brother Donnacha up on Latrobe for the €1,500,000 contest.

Mick Halford will have just his second runner in the Irish Derby with Gallinule Stakes winner Platinum Warrior taking up his entry in the race.

Halford, who grew up just miles from the Curragh Racecourse, is looking forward to running the son of Galileo.

"The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby is a wonderful race and we are all very excited to have a runner in it," Halford said. "Platinum Warrior's preparation has gone well and he is a straightforward horse so we’ve had no headaches on that front."

"His homework has been very good and we were pleased with him on the Curragh last Tuesday morning so we are looking forward to the race itself now. He seems to be a colt improving with racing."

Dermot Weld relies on the unbeaten Bandua as he looks to win another Irish Derby.

"We’ve been fortunate to win the race three times and I would be more hopeful than confident, but I am very happy with Bandua and if there’s going to be an upset I hope it can be him" Weld said.

"It looks a good renewal of the race and it has been strengthened by the horses that have been supplemented.

He has been so effective on a soft surface; whether he can adapt on a faster surface remains to be seen. The reason I am running him is he is working extremely well.

He is American bred so you would expect him to handle faster ground but he bends his knee and that is why he was so effective on soft ground. That said, I still think he has a realistic chance of running a big race and if you are not in you can’t win."

Tipperary-based trainer Fozzy Stack will also have his first runner in the race when impressive Curragh maiden winner Carlo Biraghi takes his chance and the Jim Bolger-trained Theobald completes the line up.

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival will begin with a seven race card on Friday evening. 

Friday’s first race is off at 5.25pm and the card features the Apprentice Derby and the Handicap. 

At 7.45pm the Jarlath Fahey-trained Sea The Lion will be bidding for a hat-trick of wins this season when topping the weights in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Ragusa Handicap of €50,000.

Link to Declarations:

Friday 29th June

Saturday 30th June

For more information contact: Evan Arkwright or Kate O’Sullivan, Curragh Racecourse or or phone 045 441 205.

Going Report

Issued today 28th of June ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival (tomorrow - Sunday).
Going: Straight course - good to firm.
Round course - good to firm. Watering continues.
Forecast dry for the next few days. Stalls in the centre of the track for the sprints.‬

Just off exit 12 of the M7, getting to the Curragh couldn't be easier. There is a dedicated Dublin Coach Service from Burgh Quay (see and shuttle buses from Kildare Village and Kildare Train Station. If you are driving there is plenty of free parking available

Admission Prices

Derby Friday featuring Summer Sounds at the Curragh 29th June
Adult €20
Senior/Under 25 €12
Children under 18 (accompanied by adult) Free

Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Day, Saturday 30th June
Adult €35
Senior/Under 25 €25
Children under 18 (accompanied by adult) Free

Juddmonte Pretty Polly Stakes Day, Sunday 1st July
Adult €20
Senior/Under 25 €12
Children under 18 (accompanied by adult) Free

Race Schedule
Friday 1st race 5.25pm gates open 3.30pm
Sat 1st race 1.40pm gates open 11.00am
Sun 1st race 1.45pm gates open 11.30am

Live Music
There will be plenty of entertainment off the track throughout the weekend, Friday features Summer Sounds At the Curragh  with DJ Blathnaid Treacy and Saturday plays host to a live concert after racing with State Lights. Irish vocalist Gemma Sugrue will also sing the Irish National Anthem and the Curragh of Kildare.

Dubai Duty Free Best Dressed Lady Competition
Saturday features the Dubai Duty Free Best Dressed Lady competition in association with The K Club with judges including the legendary lady jockey Nina Carberry, Bairbre Power, Fashion Editor of Independent News and Media and Breeda McLoughlin, wife of Colm McLoughlin, CEO and Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free.

Courtesy of Dubai Duty Free, the Best Dressed Lady at The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby will win a luxury trip to Dubai for two including flights and accommodation. The winner and a guest will stay in the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel for five glorious nights.  Jumeirah Creekside Hotel is a luxurious five-star hotel, offering an authentic cultural experience in the heart of the city of Dubai.  The prize also includes a €1,000 Dubai Duty Free spending spree where the winner can shop for the latest designer handbags, perfumes, jewellery or cosmetics.  The airport retail operation is one of the largest in the world and is a haven for shoppers seeking a wide array of goods. The night before the trip to Dubai the winner and a guest will enjoy an overnight stay at The K Club and a second night at the luxury Kildare Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort on their return.

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