Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Back in blighted Blighty - May 31, 2023
- The power of four: Destination Doha assumes a new dimension - May 24, 2023
- Wedding bells in Singapore and watch this space in Doha - May 21, 2023
It’s nearly race-time for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, which takes place this Saturday at the famous Curragh racecourse near Dublin.
Once again we’ve retained the services of our expert anonymous racing correspondent, The Moodie Tipster, to help guide one lucky reader towards a potential US$1 million prize.
That’s because, once more, Dubai Duty Free has not only agreed to sponsor the Derby itself but also our race prediction contest.
Anyone picking the race winner in our competition goes into a draw to win a ticket in the retailer’s ‘Millennium Millionaire’ raffle – offering the chance to win – yes, really – a million Dollars.
All you have to do is choose first, second and third places from the entries below and send them by e-mail marked ‘Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Contest’ to Martin@MoodieDavittReport.com by Saturday 25 June at 14.00 (You must work in the travel retail industry to enter).
The winner will be selected on a countback process, starting from first place through to third and if necessary beyond until we have a clear winner. In the event of a tie, a Dubai Duty Free executive will choose the winner. The judge’s decision is final.
Dubai Duty Free will, as always, host many colleagues from the Irish and global travel retail industry throughout raceday. Dermot Davitt will be joining me and The Moodie Tipster, while many other industry horse racing experts such as Global Travel Retail Sales’ David Spillane and Barry Global Innovation’s Barry Geoghegan (below) will be doing their best to pick the big winner.
Harzand: Winner of the 2016 Epsom Derby and obviously the one to beat. But the testing Curragh track and the chances of rain (and when did it last not rain in Ireland?) mean the favourite won’t have it all his own way. Trainer Dermot Weld has expressed concern that the race may have come too soon after Epsom, though we’re sure the hefty Derby prize-money meant he could fly Harzand back home in a first-class seat onboard Aer Lingus.
I’m a bit worried though about his trainer’s comment that Harzand will need a pacemaker. What’s a horse with heart trouble doing in a race like this? Apparently too he’s in a sheepskin noseband – no, not New Zealand’s top rock group but an aid to the horse’s breathing. Sounds uncomfortable and so am I about the favourite. Odds: 4/5
Idaho: Champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has four horses in the field (let’s hope they make it out of there to the racetrack), and this surely is the pick of them. Sired by Galileo but he won’t be at astronomical odds given his trainer’s incredible record in this race. Like the northwestern US state he’s named after, Idaho likes the vast open spaces and he’s bound to have plenty of them between him and the rest of the field as he storms down the finishing strait. Odds: 9/4
Port Douglas: Named after a town on the Coral Sea in North Queensland, Australia and that’s about as far away as Aidan O’Brien’s 3 year-old will be from the leaders here. Also sired by Galileo (these astronomers are always getting up to no good) he finished 14th out of 16 in the Epsom Derby. Given that 15th was a rocking horse and 16th a three-legged mule, that tells you something. Odds: 16/1
Shogun: Or show pony? We’ll know soon enough. Shoguns were, of course, hereditary military tyrants and you can expect the Aidan O’Brien colt to be dictating the early pace. I said early. This is one Shogun that won’t be ruling later on. Odds: 33/1
Moonlight Magic: Oh with those initials why would you bet against him? Well… let me tell you why. Remember that three-legged mule I told you about earlier? That was Moonlight Magic, 16th and last in the Epsom Derby and lucky to do that well. But maybe this Irish colt simply didn’t like the English – after all, he’d won three of his previous four races in his native Ireland.
Trying to work out this contradiction I studied a pre-Epsom Derby interview with his trainer Jimmy Bolger, who said: “I rate him as a good Derby prospect and I would not swap him for anything else in the race.” Mmm… other than for any of the 15 horses that finished ahead of him, that is. And wait… there’s more. “He is very straightforward and a lovely horse to work with,” continued Bolger. “There are no holes in this fellow.” Ah that explains it then. He only ran like he’d been shot. Odds: 10/1
Claudio Monteverdi: Not many people know this but Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi is an Italian composer, gambist, singer and Roman Catholic priest. So what’s he doing running around a muddy Irish racetrack then? And while I’m at it, what the heck is a gambist? Answer: someone who plays the viola da gamba (a violin made out of prawns). I’m sorry but none of that is going to help him orchestrate a victory here and as a proven gamblist myself I advise against putting a single Euro, let alone a note, on him. Odds: 50/1
Red Verdon: The only British challenger and questions must be asked whether he’ll remain among the field or leave them behind via a rapid Brexit in the home strait. He might not like Europe but don’t write him off altogether; he’s won three of his six starts and finished a handy, though not handy enough, sixth out of sixteen in the Epsom Derby. A place chance but his father’s name – Lemon Drop Kid – suggests your bet might turn as sour as David Cameron’s post-Brexit expression. Odds: 10/1
Stella Mass: Sired by Artois out of Church Ceremony (sorry, I made that bit up), this 3 year-old colt is the offspring of one of the all-time greats, Sea the Stars. Frankly though, his Dad, now enjoying the time of his life at a stud farm, would have more chance here and you won’t be seeing a star on Saturday. Admittedly this 3 year-old has won his last two starts, one of them at the Curragh, but you’d be advised to head straight to confession if you waste your money on attending this particular Mass. Odds: 33/1
Ebediyin: Two wins in five starts suggests he’s not without a chance but frankly I’d sooner put my money on Shergar and he’s been missing since 1983. Having said that, there’ll be plenty of Irish support for this well-bred colt owned by H.H. The Aga Khan, especially as he’s trained by maestro Dermot Weld, based in Galway. But our own Dermot (Davitt) is also based in Galway and you wouldn’t go putting money on him to win the Derby would you now? Odds: 66/1
The Moodie Tipster’s selections:
Third: Red Verdon