Madhmoon, Anthony Van Dyck renew rivalry at Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby


Madhmoon, Anthony Van Dyck renew rivalry at Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby
Anthony Van Dyck (right) en route to winning the Epsom Derby. - AFP file

Published: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 9:27 PM

Last updated: Fri 28 Jun 2019, 11:35 PM

Four weeks on after battling it out in the Epsom Derby, Dubai-owned Madhmoon and Anthony Van Dyck will renew their rivalry at the 12th Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival in Ireland on Saturday.
The pair had taken on each other at Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey at the start of the month and will again go toe to toe as they bid to win the 154th renewal of Group 1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the refurbished The Curragh, dubbed the 'Home of the Classics.'
Madhmoon had finished a gamely second to Anthony Van Dyck on that occasion but the three-year-old colt, owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of Finance, has it in him to turn the tables, this time around.
And his connections feel so too.
"I've got a good horse with a good chance," trainer Kevin Prendergast told Racing Post.
"If he runs as well as he did at Epsom then we might get across the line first this time. He's been bombing since Epsom and I couldn't be happier with him. I'm not saying he's better than he was going to Epsom but everything is good with him and the track will suit. The ground is due to dry out over the next few days and that too will be in his favour," he added.
It will be fitting and welcome birthday gift for Prendergast, who will turn 87 next week, if Madhmoon gets the job done.
Prendergast, who has saddled eight Irish Classic winners as well as the notching the 2000 Guineas with Nebbiolo at Newmarket back in 1977, is yet to win the Irish Derby. His father Paddy though, has won the Derby four times in 15 years between 1950 and 1965.
Madhmoon is yet to land a Group 1 winner in five starts with the three-year-old colt from Dawn Approach having won a Maiden at Leopardstown before going on to clinch the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes.
He came second to Never No More in the Irish 2000 Guineas Trial before finishing fourth in the Group 1 English 2000 Guineas.
If Madhmoon is triumphant on Friday, it will be Sheikh Hamdan first winner since Salsabil won the race 29 years ago in 1990. Madhmoon will be the mount of jockey Chris Hayes.
Sheikh Hamdan also has another runner in Rakan, trained by Dermot Weld. Rakan, the three-year-old from Sea The Stars, who also sired Stradivarius, the Group 1 Gold Cup winner at Royal Ascot, won the King George V Cup.
Sheikh Hamdan's duo face opposition from a battalion of colts from 12-time winner Aidan O'Brien - Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, II Paradiso, Norway and Sovereign.

By James Jose

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