Santiago recorded an impressive victory in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last week and the Group 2 winner heads Aidan O’Brien’s six runners for the Group 1 Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday.
The manner of Santiago’s success earmarked him as a live contender for the St Leger in September but he looks more than capable of handling the 1m4f trip in the Irish Derby.
O’Brien is searching for his 14th win in the race, having saddled the outstanding Galileo to land the 2001 edition, and will also send out Arthur’s Kingdom, second to potential Epsom Derby contender Pyledriver in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes.
Dawn Patrol, Iberia, Tiger Moth and Order Of Australia complete the Ballydoyle battalion.
Joseph O’Brien is triple handed in the Group 1 with Crossfirehurricane, who is unbeaten in four races and was last seen winning the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes, Galileo Chrome and New York Girl, bidding to become the first filly to land the race since Balanchine in 1994.
Trainer Ger Lyons and jockey Colin Keane combined to great effect with Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Siskin earlier this month and are represented by Chiricahua, who will be bidding to shed his maiden in the Classic.
There is also the Listed Celebration Stakes (1m), the Listed First Flier Stakes (5f) and the Group 3 Vintage Crop Stakes (1m6f) at the Curragh on Saturday.
Rest of today’s action
Away from Ireland, there is plenty of British action on Saturday with Newcastle’s all-weather meeting featuring two Group 3s – the Chipchase Stakes and Hoppings Fillies Stakes – and the Northumberland Plate, which was won by the Alan King-trained Who Dares Wins last year.
King looks to have another ready-made contender for the 2m½f event in the shape of Rainbow Dreamer, who has turned into a reliable stayer on the all-weather since November of last year.
Rainbow Dreamer’s biggest danger looks to be the Charlie Fellowes-trained Carnwennan, who took the consolation handicap for the Northumberland Plate at this meeting last year.
Lingfield also race on the all-weather today while there is a Flat fixture from Newmarket that includes the Group 3 Criterion Stakes and the Listed Fairway Stakes.