Joseph O'Brien: Crossfirehurricane to have a big race in the Irish Derby

Joseph O'Brien
Joseph O'Brien has three runners in the Irish Derby
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It's the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday where Joseph O'Brien hopes to have a winner. Read about his runners here...

"Mind, our excitement took a little bit of a hit when we saw the draw for the race. Our three are in the three widest stalls. What are the odds of that happening?!"

Promising starters

16:15 - Hotspur Harry and Eaglemont

Hotspur Harry is a big horse that was a bit babyish last season. He shows enough at home to suggest he can win a maiden and hopefully he'll make a promising start here.

Eaglemont is a nice, big horse that came from the breeze-ups last year. He has always worked well and we're looking forward to getting him started. Like most of our newcomers, he'll improve on whatever he does.

Solid chance for Latrobe out of the three

16:45 - Buckhurst, Latrobe and Numerian

Buckhurst is a horse we've always loved and were delighted with his comeback run at Navan earlier this month. The drop back a mile was the unknown there, but he ran really well to be beaten in a photo finish by Ancient Spirit. This trip is probably closer to his optimum and I would expect him to be sharper with that run under his belt. This is a stronger race and he has to give weight away to a couple of smart horses, but I'd be hopeful that he'll run a big race.

Latrobe gave us a day to remember on this card two years ago. While he has won over further, he seems effective over this trip. He ran well for a long way on his return at the Curragh before the lack of a recent run caught him out in the closing stages. He should be sharper with that run under his belt and on his best form would have a solid chance.

Numerian is a progressive horse that won in Listed company earlier this year. He is tactically versatile and looks very solid at this level now. He should run another good race.


Better efforts needed here

17:15 - Dark Vader, Never Before and Latin Five

Dark Vader did well to win three times during the winter season at Dundalk, but has found things a bit tougher on turf. He was disappointing after missing the kick over this course and distance last time and has a bit to prove now.

Never Before and Latin Five shaped as if they needed the run on their return to action at the Curragh last time and can hopefully put in better efforts here.

Raise You up and running if the ground is suitable

17:45 - Raise You and Crotchet

Raise You is a horse we've really taken a liking to since he's joined us. We've been very happy with him and have just been waiting for safe ground to start him on. He's probably more of an autumn horse, but it would be great to get him started off here if the ground is suitable.

Crotchet picked up some valuable black type last season and our big goal with her this year is to try and win a stakes race. This looks a stiff enough task for her, but it will represent a suitable starting point for her season.

No giving up on No Needs Never

18:15 - No Needs Never

No Needs Never has been a bit disappointing on the whole, but we have been trying a couple of different things with him and are still hopeful he will win more races. He seemed to respond well to a more patient ride at Limerick last time only to get the door shut in his face when he was making his bid. This big field and less turning track will hopefully make those tactics a bit easier to execute and he's not one to give up on yet.

Three thrillers in the Irish Derby

19:15 - Crossfirehurricane, New York Girl and Galileo Chrome

It's a real thrill to have three runners in the Irish Derby. These are races we are all in the game to win and it's great to have a strong team going for it. Mind, our excitement took a little bit of a hit when we saw the draw for the race. Our three are in the three widest stalls. What are the odds of that happening?! Anyway, we can't control these things, so all we can do is deliver them there in the best form we can and hope that they get a reasonably kind spin around.

Crossfirehurricane hasn't put a foot wrong so far, winning all four of his starts. We've eased him up the ranks nice and steadily, but now is his time to jump into the deep end. He was very good in the Gallinule Stakes under a lovely cool ride from Shane Crosse. The longer trip is an unknown for him, but he'll enjoy the ground. Hopefully he won't get caught too wide from his draw and will run a big race.

We decided to supplement New York Girl for this as we felt the unique circumstances of this season has made this more winnable than it usually would be. As well as that, her fillies-only options are looking quite hot contests in the weeks ahead, so the alternative of getting a sex allowance from the colts was a more attractive option to us. We've always seen her as a middle-distance filly and we think this trip will suit. I was thrilled with her run in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and would be very hopeful that she'll improve from that. It is a big ask, but we think she'll acquit herself well.

Galileo Chrome is a horse we've always liked. It was great to see him make a winning return at the Curragh a fortnight ago, as we expected him to need the run. This is obviously a big step up in class, but he works like a stakes horse and in the circumstances, we felt it was worth throwing him into the mix. Hopefully he'll take a strong step in the right direction.

A sharper run for Twilight Payment

19:45 - Twilight Payment and Master Of Reality

Twilight Payment is rock solid at this level and made an encouraging return in the Saval Beg at Leopardstown a fortnight ago. He got nipped there by one that was ridden with more patience than him and the lack of a recent run might just have pinched him in the closing stages too. He should be sharper for that and will hopefully run his usual solid race.

Master Of Reality did really well for us last season, just being touched off in both the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup. We obviously have one eye on an international campaign in the autumn with him, but he's ready to start back and has the form in the book to run a good race.

Joseph O'Brien,

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