/ Racing

Curragh Derby Festival day 1 preview

Updated: Friday, 28 Jun 2013 15:07

Action at Headquarters gets under way at 5.25pm
Action at Headquarters gets under way at 5.25pm

The three-day Irish Derby meeting begins at the Curragh on Friday and Most Improved has his first start for Aidan O'Brien in the feature eFlow 'You First' International Stakes.

Brian Meehan saddled the son of Lawman to land the St James's Palace Stakes in 2012, but the wheels came off alarmingly afterwards and he finished last in two of his three subsequent starts.

He steps up to a mile and a quarter for his belated return to action and if a lack of stamina and/or fitness catches him out, stablemate Flying The Flag will be waiting in the wings, and the fillies Aloof and Uleavemebreathless can't be dismissed lightly either.

The eFlow Rewardcard Apprentice Derby also involves two Ballydoyle challengers in King Of The Romans and Fairylike, and the latter would appear to be the primary hope after breaking through at Ballinrobe last month.

O'Brien turns out Illustrate just two days on from his Naas success and his 5lb penalty takes him to the head of the weights for the Irish National Stud Gathering Handicap.

The Jim Bolger-trained Fionnuar completed a hat-trick on the same Naas card and has an identical extra impost to contend with in the Silken Thomas 40th Anniversary Handicap, in which last week's winners Truly Genius and Auden are among the opposition.

The action commences at 5.25 with the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden, and Pirita will be fancied by many to build on her encouraging debut effort when finishing fourth as favourite at Fairyhouse.

She has two interesting Ballydoyle newcomers in Snow and Terrific to watch out for, and her stable companion Jayed Jidan, who caught the eye at Roscommon, crosses swords with O'Brien's perennial bridesmaid One True Love in the 100 To 102 Today FM Maiden.

Wannabe Better has kept good company and her time in the spotlight may have finally arrived as she sets the standard in the eFlow 'Hassle Free' Maiden.

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