It's the turn of Camelot to dazzle in the Irish Derby
26 Jun 2012 | QIPCO 2000 Guineas and Investec Derby winner Camelot is set to be a hot favourite in a bid for his third Classic, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday.
The eight race programme broadcast from the Curragh begins on Sky Racing2 and Sky Racing World at 12.40am Sunday AEST.
Ireland's premier Classic, worth €1.25m, is run over a mile and half (2400 metres) at The Curragh and has attracted 11 runners at the six-day stage.
The most notable absentee is Jim Bolger's Dewhurst hero Parish Hall, who has still not appeared this season, and his trainer will have to rely on Ballysax and Derrinstown Trial winner Light Heavy.
O'Brien can also choose from Learn, Astrology, Daddy Long Legs, Father Of Science and Imperial Monarch while John Oxx has three of the remaining runners, headed by Sea The Stars' half-brother Born To Sea, who was fourth over a mile in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Akeed Mofeed, not seen since finishing second in the Beresford Stakes at two, and Chester Vase third Call To Battle are his other two.
Dermot Weld's progressive and lightly-raced Speaking Of Which completes an all-Irish field.
The Derby is being held in the evening for the first time, with the big race itself due off at 4.40am.
Other highlights on the Curragh card are the €95,000 Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Railway Stakes over six furlongs ( 1200 metres) at 3.30am and the €62,500 Group 3 Woodies D.I.Y. Sapphire Stakes over five furlongs ( 1000 metres).
The big race in the UK is the £140,000 John Smith's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle over two miles (3200 metres).
Trainer Mark Johnston has left the four-year-old Gulf of Naples in this famous handicap, traditionally a great betting contest, due off at 12.20am.
Gulf Of Naples was third in the Chester Cup off a mark of 101 in May and would be running off 107 if he took his chance this weekend.
After his great effort in defeat last week, his handicap mark is expected to shoot up again. "He's very well but we won't know if he runs until much later in the week," said Johnston. "He ran a very brave race and was still in front a furlong out.
"He stays forever and he must have cut in the ground, which is why we've left him in the Plate as it looks like being soft."
Top weight Mount Athos remains a possible for Irish trainer David Wachman, with Steps To Freedom an interesting runner for Jessica Harrington.
Chester Cup winner Ile de Re could bid for a famous double with last year's winner Tominator still engaged. Cesarewitch winner Never Can Tell is still there along with Sir Mark Prescott's Motivado.
Down at Newmarket the two principle contests are the £150,000 Tattersalls Millions 3-year-old Cup over a mile and a quarter (2000m) and due off at 12.00am, and the £55,000 John Sunley Criterion Stakes over seven furlongs (1400 metres) at 12.35am.
All times AEST.