A double Derby weekend

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  • This weekend sees two Derbys take place on either side of the Irish sea

    The Irish sea separates this weekend’s two Derbys. High Chaparral, [pictured] hero of the Epsom Derby, heads for the big double in Sunday’s Budweiser Irish Derby at The Curragh, while 24 hours earlier Mr Dinos could be a handicap snip in the Pitmens’ Derby, the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

    High Chaparral looks to have a soft touch, as his main rival Balakheri will have to improve again on last week’s impressive Royal Ascot victoryin the King Edward V11 Stakes if he is to have any chance of upsetting the odds-on favourite.

    Pat Eddery takes over from the suspended Johnny Murtagh on Balakheri, but not even all Pat’s experience of four Irish Derby wins on Grundy, El Gran Senor, Law Society and Commander In Chief will be enough to upset High Chaparral.

    High Chaparral outstayed his stable companion Hawk Wing in the Derby and they were 12 lengths clear of the rest. It is difficult to see what will prevent the Sadler’s Wells colt from continuing his trainer Aidan O’Brien’s impressive 2002 classic haul, which already includes the English, Irish and French 2000 Guineas, and, of course, the Epsom Derby.

    The Pitmens’ Derby

    Paul Cole has won three of the last five Pitmens’ Derbys with Windsor Castle, Cyrian and Archduke Ferdinand, and Mr Dinos’s second to Mamool in the Queens Vase at Royal Ascot last week puts him in with a great chance of maintaining the stable’s stranglehold on the Newcastle showpiece.

    Archduke Ferdinand humps topweight this year and was only just run out of the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot by Cover Up last Saturday. Mr Dinos, in receipt of 21lb, is just preferred to his stable companion.

    At Newmarket another narrow Royal Ascot loser, Tillerman should gain compensation in the Criterion Stakes. Tillerman only just failed to overhaul No Excuse Needed in the Queen Anne Stakes. This time No Excuse Needed’s stable mate King Of Happiness is the danger.

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