Moonlight Magic worth another chance in Irish Derby

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Two of the more interesting statistics surrounding the Irish Derby are that nine of the past 13 winners had contested the Epsom equivalent earlier in the same season, but 10 of the last 13 winners arrived at the Curragh having suffered defeat in their last race.

Only 21 days separate the two Group 1 contests this year and this could be significant in terms of where the money should go.

For the fifth consecutive year there is a strong chance that the Irish Derby will be greeted by an odds-on favourite, with Epsom victor Harzand 4/5 to complete the lucrative double. Three of the last four short-priced market leaders have obliged.

However, trainer Dermot Weld has suggested that another week between the races would be beneficial, with the triumph at Epsom leaving a mark.

Stamina is the horse’s strong point and any rain at the Curragh in the late build up would be to Harzand’s advantage. But considering Weld’s comments, his price remains plenty short enough.

Idaho follows in the betting, having finished third at Epsom and paying the price somewhat for sitting too close to the rapid early pace.

He may be trained by 11-time Irish Derby-winning handler Aidan O’Brien, but there is no real reason to suggest that Idaho will turn the tables on Harzand after a pair of previous defeats.

The other horse to win a race involving Idaho in the current season is Moonlight Magic and 12/1 seems on the large side for his prospects at the Curragh.

The price is largely based on his disappointing run at Epsom, when finishing stone last, 54 lengths behind Harzand.

He clearly didn’t handle the undulations at Epsom and wasn’t pushed especially hard in the straight once it was realised that his challenge had petered out.

A return to the form shown when beating Shogun and Idaho in the Derrinstown Derby Trial at Leopardstown in May, when it seemed 1m4f would be his optimum distance, would give Moonlight Magic each-way claims at worst in the Irish Derby.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.