Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby
Group 1, Curragh 17:20
€1,500,000 added,
3yo only, 1m, 4f   
Saturday 30th June 2018

Saxon Warrior cemented his position as ante-post favourite for the 2018 Epsom Derby with victory in a thrilling renewal of the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Saxon Warrior
© Caroline Norris
Saxon Warrior

While the story of the race was undoubtedly trainer Aidan O'Brien breaking the record for the number of Group One winners in a calendar year, with this his 26th of 2017, he also appears to have unearthed yet another potential superstar in this imposing juvenile.

The son of Japanese great Deep Impact was something of a surprise winner when dominating his rivals on his Curragh debut in late August, but having proved that was no fluke by landing the Beresford Stakes, he was the 13-8 favourite to maintain his unbeaten record in a Group One his trainer had won on seven previous occasions.

With Ryan Moore on his back, Saxon Warrior travelled powerfully for much of the one-mile journey, but looked booked for minor honours when the John Gosden-trained Roaring Line swept to the front.

However, he veered off a true line when push came to shove, giving Saxon Warrior a chance and he fought back admirably against the far rail to claim a historic victory by a neck.

The winner's stablemate, The Pentagon, was third.

O'Brien said: " He (Saxon Warrior) travelled very strong and Ryan gave him a brilliant ride. 

"When John's horse went by him you thought he was beaten, but he found plenty and we're delighted.

"Ryan said he surprised him how quickly he jumped into it. 

"He was very impressed with him and he's a horse to really look forward to."

Saxon Warrior is a best priced 5-1 favourite for the Epsom Derby, but could first bid for Classic glory in the 2000 Guineas, for which he is as short as 6-1. 

O'Brien added: " Ryan said he'd have no problem being a Guineas horse, so we could start off in that and go on, but there's plenty of stamina in his pedigree. 

"He's obviously a very good horse and what he did today was battle, he fought back. 

"I think he'll be comfortable at anything from a mile to a mile and a half. Ryan was adamant he had a miler's pace.

"He's a very special horse, we think. He's done everything we've asked of him and he's only been a baby.

"I'd say there's no doubt he'll be better on better ground."

Moore was suitably impressed by the performance.

He said: " He's a beautiful horse and he gave me so much confidence the whole race. 

"It wasn't going right, but he's very good and that's the difference - they're beautiful horses that are beautifully prepared. 

"He's very good and when the other horse came, I hadn't asked my lad a question."

Paul Smith, son of Saxon Warrior's part-owner Derrick Smith, told At The Races: "I'm so pleased for Aidan and everyone at Ballydoyle. 

"It wasn't straightforward, but I've spoken to Ryan (Moore) and he was very happy and very complimentary about the horse.

"He travelled well and toughed it out well, which are the qualities you need in a good horse."

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Group 1)
€1,500,000 added, 3yo only, 1m 4f, Class 1
49 entries

Form Horse Age Weight Trainer
3- Al Muffrih (IRE) 248 2 9-0 W J Haggas
31- Amedeo Modigliani (IRE) 329 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
Amhran Na Gealai (IRE) 2 9-0 J S Bolger
Astromachia 2 9-0 Mrs A J Perrett
Baliyad (IRE) 2 9-0 D K Weld
Bermuda Triangle (IRE) 2 9-0 W J Haggas
44144- Burgundy Boy (IRE) 245 2 9-0 Ms Sheila Lavery
45- Change Of Velocity (IRE) 338 2 9-0 J S Bolger
Cogital 2 9-0 Mrs A J Perrett
132- Delano Roosevelt (IRE) 279 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
5211- Deyaarna (USA) 246 2 9-0 S bin Suroor
Downdraft (IRE) 2 9-0 Joseph P O'Brien
24- Elwazir 248 2 9-0 Owen Burrows
91- Escamillo 248 2 9-0 Joseph P O'Brien
1- Extra Elusive 246 2 9-0 R Charlton
Falcon Eight (IRE) 2 9-0 D K Weld
311- Ghaiyyath (IRE) 259 2 9-0 C Appleby
31- Global Giant 351 2 9-0 E A L Dunlop
511- Gustav Klimt (IRE) 350 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
713- Hazapour (IRE) 245 2 9-0 D K Weld
High Mounte (IRE) 2 9-0 Joseph P O'Brien
42- Hunting Horn (IRE) 284 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
4- Ispolini 241 2 9-0 C Appleby
21- James Cook (IRE) 251 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
Jassaar 2 9-0 D K Weld
71241- Kew Gardens (IRE) 259 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
1- Key Victory (IRE) 248 2 9-0 C Appleby
21- Knight To Behold (IRE) 248 2 9-0 Harry Dunlop
12- Landshark 307 2 9-0 Mrs J Harrington
2- Latrobe (IRE) 251 2 9-0 Joseph P O'Brien
17- Loxley (IRE) 245 2 9-0 C Appleby
Magical Sight 2 9-0 W J Haggas
Make The Switch (IRE) 2 9-0 D K Weld
13136- Masar (IRE) 239 2 9-0 C Appleby
21- Morning Wonder (IRE) 291 2 9-0 K A Ryan
8- National Security (IRE) 232 2 9-0 J S Bolger
62112- Nelson (IRE) 273 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
71313- Rostropovich (IRE) 293 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
111- Saxon Warrior (JPN) 245 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
21- Setting Sail 276 2 9-0 C Appleby
Stella D'oro (USA) 2 9-0 Joseph P O'Brien
Subjudice (IRE) 2 9-0 Joseph P O'Brien
51- The King (IRE) 287 2 9-0 Mrs J Harrington
6113- The Pentagon (IRE) 245 2 9-0 A P O'Brien
122870- Theobald (IRE) 245 2 9-0 J S Bolger
1214- Verbal Dexterity (IRE) 245 2 9-0 J S Bolger
2- Wadilsafa 295 2 9-0 Owen Burrows
31- Whirling Dervish 272 2 9-0 Mrs J Harrington
1- Willie John 257 2 9-0 W J Haggas

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