The Galileo-Golan re-match takes place on in Sunday’s Budweiser Irish Derby at The Curragh. The midsummer rains have come in time to ease the ground in favour of Golan, although it should not be forgotten that he only time Galileo encountered the mud he sluiced home by 14 lengths!
Galileo was faultless when he swept to his three and a half length victory over Golan in the Vodafone Derby at Epsom three weeks ago. In fact, he has been near faultess in all four of his races. So the question must be: is he invincible?
His connections, the Coolmore confederacy of John and Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor, trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Mick Kinae definitely seem to think so.
After supervising Galileo’s first piece of post-Epsom work at Royal Ascot last week, O’Brien volunteered the opinion that “he was a baby at Epsom. Now he is a teenager.”
Such words suggest that Golan faces an impossible task. But, while everything went Galileo’s way in the Derby, Golan gave the distinct impression that he was struggling to handle Epsom’s undulations. Also, he could not stride out on the firm ground with the same freedom as Galileo.
Golan will be able to let himself go on the level, rain-softened Curragh turf this time and should finish much closer.
Exaltation, trained by John Oxx, who is responsible for last year’s winner Sinndar, has been supplemented at a cost of IR£90,000 to owner Sheikh Mohammed. He, too, finished second toGalileo at Leopardstown last month and Oxx believes that the step up to a mile and a half here will enable Exaltation to reach a place, at least.
With Derby third Tobougg missing the race, Frankie Dettori is free to take over from the suspended Johnny Murtagh on Exaltation.
Champion jockey Kevin Darley and Bay Of Islands team up in a bid to repeat last year’s victory in Europe’s richest two-mile handicap, the £120,000 Foster’s Lager Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday.
Cover Up, winner of last week’s Ascot Stakes, represents the powerful Sir Michael Stoute-Kieren Fallon combination. However, a lively outsider could be John Dunlop’s Give Notice, the mount of Seb Sanders. Give Notice has been running over distances short of this two miles and will appreciate a searching test of stamina.