Irish Derby weekend kicks off with an eight-race card on Friday.

The ground is good. There remains the possibility of some thundery showers. My hunch is the going will remain good for the three days.

The better races will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Some interesting contests on Friday all the same. Hopefully we can rootle out a couple of winners.

4.15 Irish EBF Fillies Maiden
This looks booked for one of the debutants. Friendly is beautifully bred. She's hard to oppose. Jessica Harrington's juveniles have started the season well. Windsor Pass must be respected.

Selection: Friendly 13-8

4.45 Irish Stallion Farms Maiden
Alex D outran market expectations on debut in Naas. That reads like strong form. Normal progression would set a high standard here. Merchants Quay is clearly well regarded. His debut promised much too.

Selection: Alex D 5-2

5.15 Irish Stallion Farms Fillies Maiden
This doesn't look a particularly strong maiden. Perhaps Fascinating Falcon can make a winning debut. She's a full sister to the top class Fastnet Rock. Bearberry put up a good show on debut in Leopardstown. That's probably the best bit of form on offer here.

Selection: Fascinating Falcon 13-2

5.45 Irish Stallion Farms Maiden
Mr Wendell showed plenty on debut in Naas earlier this month. He should go very close if building on that. Agitare sets the standard. He looks a bit tripless though, and is in danger of becoming frustrating.

Selection: Mr Wendell 9-2

6.15 Anglesey Lodge Fillies Maiden 
Oh So True ran very green on her recent course and distance debut. Her third place finish was a commendable effort in the circumstances. She should come on bundles for the experience, and rates the selection here. Shamiyna also posted a pleasing debut effort in Leopardstown. That appears decent form, and she is feared despite a tricky draw.

Selection: Oh So True 7-2

6.45 Hanlon Concrete Handicap
Passing Trade hasn't had the luck of the draw here. The likelihood of a strong gallop can help to negate that disadvantage. He appeals as well handicapped off the back of a pleasing comeback run in Leopardstown. Gee Rex doesn't look to be in love with the game. He may well find a way to come second though.

Selection: Passing Trade 6-1

7.15 TRM Fillies Handicap 
Brook On Fifth endured a brutal trip in a Leopardstown Guineas trial. That run is best forgotten. The drop in grade, and step up in trip both look positives here. The handicapper looks to have taken a lenient line with Orchid Gardens. She's feared most.

Selection: Brook On Fifth 7-1

7.45 Apprentice Derby
Sayo lurks on an attractive mark for Willie Mullins. The obstacles regularly got in his way over hurdles and fences. He should enjoy this test. Monoxide is an interesting recruit for a team who have done notably well with cast-offs from other stables.

Selection: Sayo 11-2

Watch live coverage of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Friday from 7-8pm, on Saturday (Irish Derby at 7.15pm) from 6-8pm and on Sunday from 3-5pm.