So vice-like is Aidan O’Brien’s grip on the Irish Derby that no other yard has managed to saddle a winner for eight years now, with Ballydoyle runners filling the first three places in half of the last six renewals. That could all be set to change this year however, with Elaine and Karl Burke’s Libertarian fancied to reverse Epsom placings with Ruler Of The World.
O’Brien’s Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World is 11/10 to emulate his trainer’s previous three scorers in that contest by adding the Irish equivalent to their resume and rates a worthy favourite.
Having beaten the re-opposing Libertarian, Galileo Rock and Festive Cheer at Epsom, despite boasting less previous racecourse experience than any of trio, he can be expected to come on again for that showing.
Festive Cheer finished some 12 lengths behind O’Brien’s victor on the Downs, but the other two finished less than two lengths back in the minor medal positions. Of the placed pair it was Libertarian’s run which gave most cause to believe that the tables could be turned on the Curragh.
Where Galileo Rock outstayed his rivals through gritted teeth, Libertarian – in as taking, if not more taking fashion than the winner – scythed through the field late on to nick second on the line.
The son of New Approach was hindered in his Epsom tilt by a slowing of pace in the middle sections of the race, which in conjunction with the course’s famous rollercoaster undulations served to undermine the momentum of such a big galloping type.
As a result, when the eventual winner made his burst for home Libertarian was caught treading water at least two lengths back, only flying home inside the final furlong once William Buick had re-established his rhythm and got him galloping.
Buick will no doubt ensure that the market leader won’t steal a march on him when they renew hostilities.
Purchased after the race by Sheikh Mohammed, the promise he showed at Epsom has clearly not gone unnoticed and racing on a relatively flat track at the Curragh should see Libertarian able to maintain a more even gallop.
Having previously beaten equal second-favourite Trading Leather in the Dante at York there’s little reason to suspect that Jim Bolger’s charge will be able to reverse that form, not least because his runner has already raced twice since.
Strong-staying types like the Bolger horse and Sugar Boy’s inclusion in the field should help to ensure a decent gallop, which will be key to ensuring we see the best of the Burkes’ charge and few will be staying on better up the course’s 3f uphill run-in than the colt purchased with the St Leger in mind.
Libertarian is currently available at 4/1 to win the Irish Derby.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.