Lionel a ‘major player’ for Irish Derby; Tuesday could be added

David Menuisier took Lionel to Kempton for a racecourse gallop last week ahead of his bid for Classic glory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday.

Winner of the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood, where he came from an unpromising position and finished strongly, the Lope De Vega colt is a general 10/1 chance for the Curragh showpiece.

“All is in place for Saturday, so far so good,” said Menuisier. “He keeps on developing and getting stronger and stronger.

“He did a nice piece of work on Thursday at Kempton and that was pretty much his final bit and we were delighted. He’s fit, he knows the job so all is good really.

“In an ideal world I’d like good, good to soft ground as he’s a big horse. Personally I don’t like running on very fast ground, especially when they are inexperienced still. When they get older it’s maybe not as important, but when they are still learning I find they can be taken off their feet and not really understand what is happening.

“I think we’re going there as one of the major players, but obviously I’m biased. I think he’s a really nice horse and the difference between him and many of the other runners is that we have aimed at this race for a while.

Westover (pink cap) chases home Derby winner Desert Crown at Epsom
Image: Derby third Westover (pink cap) is favourite for Saturday’s Irish Derby

“We mapped it out before his previous run, it’s not an afterthought, put it that way – it was his main plan.

“We did try to run him at Lingfield before Goodwood, but he was a little under the weather. The plan was always to give him a good break before this and it has all gone according to plan.”

Tuesday could take on the boys

Aidan O’Brien has not ruled out the possibility of Tuesday taking on the colts in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday.

Winner of the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom on June 3, the day she actually turned three, if the daughter of Galileo runs she will be attempting to become the first filly to win Ireland’s premier Classic since the Frankie Dettori-ridden Balanchine in 1994.

Tuesday and Ryan Moore nose out Emily Upjohn and Frankie Dettori in the Oaks
Image: Tuesday and Ryan Moore nose out Emily Upjohn and Frankie Dettori in the Oaks

Her victory in the Oaks was the fifth run of her career, but her third Classic, having finished placed in both the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish equivalent.

O’Brien, who does not appear to have a standout Irish Derby contender among his colts this season, will be looking for a 15th win in the race this weekend.

“It’s possible we could supplement Tuesday,” O’Brien said. “I’ve very possible, but we’ll decide in the morning.”

Nashwa (green) chases home Oaks front two Tuesday and Emily Upjohn at Epsom
Image: Nashwa (green), third at Epsom, won the French Oaks on Sunday under Hollie Doyle

O’Brien enjoyed another successful Royal Ascot last week, once again being crowned leading trainer at the meeting during five days which saw him land his 900th Group or Graded race. He also moved within one of Sir Michael Stoute as the leading trainer at the showpiece fixture with his 81st winner.

Tuesday’s Oaks form took a boost on Sunday when the Hollie Doyle-ridden Nashwa, third at Epsom, dropped down in distance to win the French Oaks at Chantilly.

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