Horse Racing Betting: Wings of Eagles Leads Irish Derby Contenders

David Schwab

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 1:49 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 28, 2017 1:49 PM UTC

The first Saturday of the new month kicks off an extended celebration for the July 4 holiday in the United States, but horse bettors are turning their attention to Curragh Racecourse for the running of this year’s Irish Derby in Ireland.

A large field of contenders are lining up to take place in Saturday’s main event at Curragh Racecourse for the Irish Derby, with many of the entries coming off a recent run in the Grade 1 Epson Derby. After breaking down the field of possible entries, I have settled in on the following three as my ‘best bet’ trifecta play for this race.


2017 Irish Derby

The Irish Derby is a Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds, and over the years it has become known as the richest horse race in Europe. It will be contested on the turf at Curragh over a distance of 1 ½ miles.

The Epsom Derby is one of the biggest graded stakes races for 3-year-olds in Great Britain and this year’s event on June 3 at Epsom Downs was won by trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Wings of Eagles. He has been opened as an early 5/2 favorite to win this Saturday’s main event at Curragh, and I also have him at the top of my betting list. Bred in France, this sire of Pour Moi has already proven himself to be the class of this field with that impressive run at Epsom over the same 1½-mile distance of this race. He has continually improved both his speed and his form in recent workouts since placing second in this year’s Grade 3 Chester Vase Stakes back in early May.

Wings of Eagles comes into this race with a Horse Racing Nation rating of 7.39, which is also the highest in the projected field of 12 entries.

My second choice would be Cracksman at early 9/4 odds to win. This son of Frankel is trained by John Gosden, and jockey Pat Smullen is expected to get the ride in search of his third career victory in an Irish Derby. This colt was bred in Great Britain and is coming off a third-place run in the Epsom Derby. He closed out his juvenile campaign with a victory in the Maiden Stakes at Newmarket in late October and he started his 3-year-old season with another winning effort at Epsom in the Conditions Stakes on April 26 at a distance of 1¼ miles.

His HRN rating coming into the 2017 Irish Derby sits at 4.79, and all indications from his recent workouts point to another strong run Saturday.

Rounding out my trifecta pick for the 2017 Irish Derby would be another O’Brien-trained colt, Douglas Macarthur. He adds some value to my pick at a bit longer 9/1 odds to win. This pedigree of Galileo was bred in Ireland as a slight plus, but I really like the fact that he was able to consistently finish in the money during his run to this year’s Epsom Derby. He ended up seventh in that race, but that was on the heels of a victory in this year’s Grade 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial against a very competitive field. He also placed second in the Grade 3 Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in early April over a distance of 1¼ miles.

He remains unrated by HRN, but there is still quite a bit of value in his early odds for Saturday.

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