Unbeaten Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Ruler of The World will take on eight rivals in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) June 29 at the Curragh while his trainer bids to extend his dominance in the classic.
The Galileo colt won the English equivalent by 1 1/2 lengths June 1 for trainer Aidan O'Brien after overhauling stablemate Battle of Marengo more than a furlong out and holding off runner-up Libertarian and third-place finisher Galileo Rock. The top three finishers face off at the Curragh.
"We have been very happy with him since Epsom and he is our main hope for Saturday's race," O'Brien said of Ruler of The World, who is perfect in three career starts, all this season. "He impressed us at Epsom and we think the Curragh will suit him even better."
O'Brien bids for an 11th Irish Derby win and eighth in succession after winning last year with Camelot, who became the 16th horse to land the Epsom/Irish Derby double. The trainer won the race for the first time in 1997 with Desert King.
Ruler of The World won the MBNA Chester Vase (Eng-II) by six lengths May 9 in his start prior to the Epsom Derby. He is the 11-10 favorite with bookmaker Paddy Power to emulate Camelot's classic double.
O'Brien also sends out Festive Cheer, a Montjeu colt who finished 10th at Epsom.
Libertarian, winner of the Betfred Dante Stakes (Eng-I) May 16 at York, ran a creditable second at Epsom and subsequently was bought by Godolphin, which supplemented him to the Irish Derby.
The New Approach colt, the 7-2 second favorite, will soon join trainer Saeed bin Suroor at Newmarket after making final start for trainer Elaine Burke, who bids to become the first female trainer to win the Irish Derby in its 148-year history.
"Considering he did not handle the track that well at Epsom, Libertarian did extremely well to finish as close as he did," said Burke's husband, Karl. "The horse has been in terrific form since then and we have no doubt that the Curragh will suit him much better as it is a more galloping track."
Bin Suroor saddles likely pacemaker Cap O'Rushes, a New Approach colt who has two wins, a second, and a third from six career starts.
Michael O'Flynn's Galileo Rock finished a nose behind Libertarian at Epsom. Trained by David Wachman, the Galileo colt appeared uncomfortable on the track and is likely to be better suited to the wide open spaces of the Curragh. He is pegged at 8-1 odds.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum's Sugar Boy, also at 8-1, represents trainer Patrick Prendergast, whose late grandfather and namesake won the Irish Derby four times.
An Authorized colt, Sugar Boy won the Betfred Classic Trial Stakes (Eng-III) April 26 at Sandown but bypassed the Epsom Derby.
"All has gone well for Sugar Boy since he landed a group III race at Sandown in April and we are expecting a big run from him on Saturday," Prendergast said.
The Teofilo colt comes in off a 3 1/2-length win over Lines of Battle in the 1 1/4-mile TRM Silver Stakes June 9 at the Curragh and has pleased his trainer since that victory.
"Trading Leather has come out of that race in great shape and is ready to take his chance on Saturday," Bolger said of his 5-1 hope. "We have been very happy with him since (the Silver Stakes) and the step up to a mile and a half should suit him."
Bolger looks for his first Irish Derby victory since Virginia Kraft Payson's Epsom Derby winner St. Jovite took the 1992 edition. The Kentucky-bred son of Pleasant Colony won by 12 lengths in a record time of 2:25.60.