Tony Calvin: Knight to Behold has the talent to outrun his odds in the Irish Derby

Curragh, home of the Irish Derby
Tony Calvin takes a look at the Irish Derby, which takes place at the Curragh on Saturday

In this week's antepost column, Tony Calvin assesses the state of play in the Irish Derby market...

"Travelling to Ireland may see him boil over again, who knows, but I remember Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore saying in his pre-Derby analysis that he thought the Lingfield race Knight To Behold won so handsomely was second to only that of the Guineas as a trial going into the big one."

Most people know you have to have a compelling reason to bet ante-post these days - which is why we will be leaving the Northumberland Plate until Friday, when you will be getting at least five places for your money in the 20-runner 2m handicap at Newcastle - but I thought the Irish Derby was a different matter altogether.

The race is, however, up in the air from a punting point of view.

Saxon could go off very short

Epsom winner Masar has declined the challenge of taking on Saxon Warrior again on his own patch (he goes for the Eclipse, as it stands), which means that the Guineas winner and Derby fourth is set to go off as a firm odds-on chance at the weekend.

He will be hitting 1/3 territory, and shorter, if Dee Ex Bee isn't supplemented for the race on Tuesday - the Irish operate a four-day declarations system, as opposed to the UK's five - and Mark Johnston's three-year-old is highly unlikely to get his preferred surface of good or softer.

I say preferred, as he has never raced on officially good to firm ground, but unless the Curragh puts on too much water this week then it will surely be fast on Saturday. If the weather forecast is correct, that is.

So while the 4/1 about the Derby runner-up - and he did finish three lengths ahead of an under-performing Saxon Warrior at Epsom - initially seems huge, you would have to say that the going could be an issue for him, even if was drying out all the whole while on Derby day.

Of course, he may not only have to contend with a quick surface on Saturday, but also a fair few other Aidan O'Brien colts, too. Quite who, and how many, we don't know yet.

Impressive Hampton Court winner Hunting Horn and Queen's Vase scorer Kew Gardens are candidates for a quick turnaround, but they are far from certain contenders, and they could decide to just go with the likes of The Pentagon and keep the race simple and trouble-free.

And they wouldn't want to complicate matters with an odds-on chance, or indeed bring Dee Ex Bee's stamina into play, by saddling a hatful.
The favourite is certainly not a penalty kick along the lines of an Australia and Camelot in this race, but when Ballydoyle have a horse they think will win, they tend to back off on the numbers front. The afore-mentioned pair won five-runner renewals.

Keep coming back to Knight

There will be a fair few runners come the weekend, as King Edward VII winner Old Persian may be supplemented on Tuesday and the interesting Gallinule 1-2 of Platinum Warrior and Latrobe are expected to rock up, as well.

And, who knows, connections of Hazapour may have a change of heart when looking at the race, but I keep on coming back to Knight To Behold.

I went with him and Masar on the day of the Derby, and Knight To Behold blew out big style.

I wasn't totally surprised as he is a very quirky horse, and has to be led all the way to the gallops and back again by Harry Dunlop's wife, and perhaps the whole Epsom experience got the better of him.

He certainly didn't do himself any favours when going off too hard from an unfavourable draw in two, anyway.

Travelling to Ireland may see him boil over again, who knows, but I remember Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore saying in his pre-Derby analysis that he thought the Lingfield race Knight To Behold won so handsomely was second to only that of the Guineas as a trial going into the big one.

And, of course, Lingfield runner-up Kew Gardens bounced back from his Epsom disappointment himself when winning the Queen's Vase last week.

Knight To Behold is an intended runner at the Curragh, bypassed Ascot for this race, and has the talent to outrun his odds if the lid can be kept on him.

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