Marking your card for Day One of the Curragh Irish Derby Festival 4 years ago

Marking your card for Day One of the Curragh Irish Derby Festival

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival is here.

The sun will be beating down, the crowds will be out in their droves, some of the best race horses in the country will be taking to the Curragh over the next three days for an absolute feast of horse racing in the Kildare track.


The action gets underway at 5.35pm on Friday and the card includes will include the JOE Handicap at 6.35pm, the Apprentice Derby at 7.10pm and the SportsJOE Maiden at 8.55pm.

We've studied the form books and here's our tips to follow for Day One of the action. Handicap 6.35

St Brelades Bay impressed in his handicap win in Gowran Park less than five days ago for the Jessica Harrington yard. Colm O'Donoghue's mount is a course and distance winner and that experience will stand him in good stead here.


The six-year-old has been steadily improving over the last while and we give him the nod to make it two weeks inside a week in this one.

At odds of 10/3 in most places, he's a value bet for this one.

Feature race 7.55 Handicap

The feature race of the Friday evening card is undoubtedly the EBF 'Ragusa' Handicap which goes to post at 7.45. The 1 mile 4 furlong premier handicap sees top trainers Willie Mullins, Aidan O'Brien and Jim Bolger lock horns.


A typically competitive handicap race, the locally trained Sea The Lion tops the weights with Jarlath Fahey's charge hotly tipped to make it three wins on the trot.

Jim Bolger's horses are running well at the moment so his contender Change of Velocity will hardly be too far away. Also going for his third win on the trot, the six-year-old market leader is off a lighter weight than last year's race winner and that might just tip the balance in his favour.

At odds of 4/1, Kevin Manning is predicted to pass the post first aboard Change of Velocity.


Willie Mullins is never too far away in these races and he saddles two here. Both La Girl and Gustavus Vassa have live each way shouts in this one.

SportsJOE Irish EBF Maiden 8.55

Kisanga is our choice to land the spoils in the SportsJOE sponsored race. Dermot Weld's three-year-old impressed first time out in Naas just 11 days ago. The inexperienced filly showed enough promise on that occasion to convince us that she has the scope to take the colts here today.

The 15-8 favourite should do the business for Declan McDonagh in the final race of the day.