"You don't need me to tell you Aidan O'Brien is a genius" - The Curragh challenge awaiting Madhmoon


Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

16.22 28 Jun 2019


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This Saturday in the Curragh will be a particularly busy one for Chris Hayes.

The jockey will be on the Kevin Prendergast-trained Madhmoon in tomorrow's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

That will go to post at 5.20 on Saturday and to preview this and the rest of the card, Hayes joined us on Friday Night Racing.

"I'm looking forward to it. For the last couple of weeks, you're just seeing how much he's improved and how well he is," he said of Madhmoon.

"The closer you're getting to the race then, you're wondering how many outsiders are going to run. All of that is done and dusted now. We know the final field, we know where we're drawn so you just have to make up a plan."

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Anthony Van Dyck poses an existential threat to Madhmoon's hopes of victory. Two of the top 3 year old colts of this season, they battled for victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom with the former prevailing.

"You don't need me to tell you that Aidan O'Brien is a genius," said Hayes.

"He's a master tactician and he could have any sort of plan laid out for tomorrow. But as regards to myself, initially I went with Plan A, [which] was to jump and sit in the middle with him at Epsom. Cantering down, [Madhmoon] just got a little bit fresh in my hands, cantering around the corner, up the mile and a quarter start.

"I just said to myself, I better do right by the horse and ride him cold. He got into a lovely rhythm and I couldn't have been happier until the little stumble. It just forced my momentum and he got a little bit lit up and got going sooner than I wanted to. But hopefully, it's a far stiffer test, it's a far more galloping track than Epsom. So he should be fine on the home turf."

The Curragh

We also previewed this weekend's main action at The Curragh.

"It's great racing. The Curragh's experimented a bit with the timing of the races in that the Derby is 5.20 now on a Saturday," explained Johnny Ward.

"The Friday meeting is a little bit earlier but we also have the Railway Stakes which is the precursor to the Derby. Arizona, who won at Royal Ascot, he'd be one of the star acts. The Railway Stakes looks an absolute cracker of a race and you certainly won't be let down if you head to The Curragh in terms of the quality of the racing this weekend."

Meanwhile, we're going to have temporary ownership of a horse running at Leopardstown on Thursday July 11th.

Which is where you come in. We haven't come up with a syndicate name, so send us in your suggestions to our @offtheball Twitter page.

Our racing coverage is brought to you in association with GoRacing.ie. You can watch the full Chris Hayes interview on the video player above.


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