Irish Derby preview and how you could get a huge price on the favourite

© Racing Post / Patrick McCann

The feature race of the weekend is the Irish Derby, the third of five classic races held at the Curragh. Won by the likes of Galileo, Cape Blanco, Camelot, Australia and Harzand, just to name a few, it’s a race steeped in history.

The 2021 renewal promises to be another incredible spectacle, with several British challengers making the journey across. We’ve gone through the contest to give you our in-depth preview, picking out the key contenders and trends. We’ve also found a potential way you could get a big price on the favourite by utilising in-play betting. Find out all the details below!


Irish Derby Key Contenders

High Definition (Ryan Moore, Aidan O’Brien)

Unbeaten in a pair of starts last year, he’s been the talking horse for the race. He really caught the eye as a juvenile with his last-gasp victories, with his return third in the Dante another promising effort in a race that didn’t perhaps go his way. The same shouldn’t be the case here, especially now he goes over the twelve-furlong distance. This is his toughest task yet, but he’s shaped like a potential star and this trip will bring out the best in him.


Mojo Star (Rossa Ryan, Richard Hannon) 

Shaped with promise without winning in his opening two starts, sent off an unconsidered 50-1 shot for the Derby earlier this month. He acquitted himself extremely well, doing plenty of late work to finish a never-nearer second. There was seemingly no fluke about that performance and a repeat showing would give him excellent claims here, despite still being a maiden.


Hurricane Lane (William Buick, Charlie Appleby) 

Highly progressive in his opening three starts, making it three from three when downing High Definition to win the Dante. He lost his unbeaten record in the Derby, but he ran extremely well, finishing third despite losing both his fore shoes. This more conventional test will suit him, but he might be vulnerable to stronger stayers over this trip.


Lone Eagle (Frankie Dettori, Martyn Meade) 

Three-time winner as a juvenile, with his sole defeat coming on debut. Shaping fairly on seasonal return at Sandown in the Classic Trial, a stiffer eleven-furlong test saw him post a career-best at Goodwood last time. Stamina is his strong suit and he’s likely to go from the front under Dettori, who is always a dangerous man to give a lead too; each-way contender.


Mac Swiney (Kevin Manning, Jim Bolger) 

Kept very busy a juvenile, running on six occasions, with his final task resulting in a Group 1 victory at Doncaster. Ran below form on return at the Curragh on better ground and the return to a softer surface saw him win the Irish 2000 Guineas on his next start. Safely held in the Derby last time behind Mojo Star and Hurricane Lane, and he’d need rain to be seen to best effect here.


Irish Derby Trends

  • 10/12 – Rated 110 or higher
  • 10/12 – Had won that season
  • 8/12 – Ran in the Derby on their most recent start
  • 8/12 – Trained by Aidan O’Brien
  • 7/12 – Had previously won a Group race
  • 6/12 – Sent off favourite

Aidan O’Brien has been a dominant force in this race, but High Definition is yet to win a group race and didn’t contest the Derby last time, so he’s not the one to side with from a trends perspective. The trends seem to point to Hurricane Lane, who matches 4 of the 6 we’ve selected.


Watch the in-play market in High Definition

Hitting 100 in-running on both his runs as a juvenile, High Definition is the horse to watch from an in-play perspective. He sprouted wings to land both his maiden and the Beresford, and he’ll likely have to employ similar tactics to win this race.

On the Betfair Exchange, he’s likely to touch a bigger price than his SP, due to the fact he’ll have to do things the hard way. If you’re a High Definition supporter, and believe he’ll get there on time, then the Exchange could be the way to go to back him.

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If you back any of our selections you can watch them live on the free Racing Post app or racingpost.com. Simply log in to one of your bookmaker accounts and click ‘Watch live’ on the racecards.

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