Day two of the Irish Derby meeting at the Curragh takes centre stage on Saturday. Racing Post tipster Robbie Wilders shares his four fancies.
Emphatic Answer @ 1/1
Hannibal Barca @ 10/1
Mac Swiney @ 1/1
Dante’s Pass @ 1/1
The Listed Dubai Duty Free Celebration Stakes (2.35) is a competitive affair. but Emphatic Answer can get the job done for Joseph O’Brien.
Emphatic Answer drops in class having run a cracker in a Group 2 over this course and distance when beaten a neck by Pearls Galore, a top-class filly on her day.
There is a sense Pearls Galore idled somewhat but Emphatic Answer showed an excellent attitude to fight back and is going the right way.
It is only a matter of time before she gets her neck in front in a race of this nature. Rain is forecast to hit the Curragh and that also holds no fears.
The feature Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (3.45) is between Tuesday and Westover according to the betting and the right two head the market.
Aidan O’Brien’s decision to supplement Tuesday for this race after her Oaks victory was a significant move, while Westover was a real eyecatcher when third in the Derby.
However, I’m convinced we haven’t seen the best of Hannibal Barca. This son of Zoffany will appreciate the forecast rain having landed his maiden in good style on soft ground before running a blinder when fourth to Luxembourg in the soft-ground Vertem Futurity Trophy on his third run.
He shaped as if 1m4f would really suit when making a winning stable debut for Joseph O’Brien in the Gallinule Stakes last month, and his profile is not dissimilar from the trainer’s 2018 Irish Derby winner Latrobe, who took in the Gallinule en route to landing the Classic on his fifth start. There should be more to come.
Mac Swiney will be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional mud-lover by many, but I’m not of the same opinion and he is the one to beat in the ARM Holding International Stakes (4.20).
While his form on a testing surface is top class, Mac Swiney has recorded a couple of excellent performances on good to soft going, including a third to Sealiway in the Champion Stakes and a non-staying fourth to Adayar in the Derby.
Clearly the forecast rain is in his favour and he warmed up for this with an encouraging return on ground too quick in the Tattersalls Gold Cup here last month.
That race is working out well with third State Of Rest and fifth Broome since scoring at Royal Ascot and Mac Swiney can now do his bit for the form. This is a major drop in class and he is a confident selection.
My final wager at the Curragh comes in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap (4.50) over a mile.
I’ve had my eye on Dante’s Pass all season and he makes his belated seasonal return after a three-year-old campaign full of encouragement.
Dante’s Pass only made his debut in September and scored at the first time of asking before relishing heavy ground to capture a decent conditions race at Limerick in October.
Quick going and a step up in class proved his undoing in a Newmarket Listed race next time but I’m willing to forgive that, considering he was facing battle-hardened campaigners like Zakouski, Stormy Antarctic and Safe Voyage.
Dante’s Pass makes his handicap debut off a mark of 97 and with the heavens opening, he looks a cracking each-way play to start his campaign in the best possible fashion.