x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

No Triple Crown shot for Sea The Stars

Sea The Stars has been ruled out of today's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Sea The Stars has been ruled out of today's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh. The English 2000 Guineas and Derby winner was due to bid for a Classic hat-trick but heavy rain on Friday turned conditions against him. Trainer John Oxx had warned the Cape Cross colt would not run on easy ground and the Currabeg handler has opted to give the race a miss. His wife Caitriona confirmed: "It's official, Sea The Stars will not be running at the Curragh.

"We wanted to run him but the ground is not right for him and he will go for the Eclipse now." Sea The Stars will be stepping back to 10 furlongs in Sandown's Coral-Eclipse on Saturday. Having already emulated Nashwan in becoming the first Guineas winner to triumph at Epsom in 20 years, he would be following in that horse's hoofprints if he can score at Sandown too. But his absence from the 13-runner field over a mile and a half in Ireland has dashed his hopes of emulating Nijinsky's Triple Crown triumph in 1970.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien is now favourite to saddle the winner in a race in which he will field seven horses. O'Brien has won the last four runnings of the Irish Derby, but only three of his seven runners have a viable chance of winning this time. Those three finished second, third, and fourth behind Sea The Stars in the Epsom Derby. Runner-up Fame and Glory was one-and-three-quarter lengths behind with Jamie Heffernan aboard but will today be ridden by Johnny Murtagh who rode Yeats to a record fourth Gold Cup win at Royal Ascot.

Masterofthehorse was a neck further back and switches from Richard Hughes to Heffernan. Golden Sword was sacrificed as the Ballydoyle rabbit but still held on for fourth, a nose behind Masterofthehorse. He will be ridden once again by Colm O'Donoghue. Keeping it in the family, O'Brien's 16-year-old son, Joseph will ride the rank outsider Byzantine. The young O'Brien has won on three of his first 15 mounts in Ireland.

Jim Bolger will saddle Gan Amhras, who finished third at the 2000 Guineas and 11th at the Epsom Derby, while Oxx will now be pinning his hopes of challenging O'Brien with the Aga Khan's Mourayan, who was second by five lengths behind Fame and Glory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial. In the Railway Stakes at six furlongs for two-year-olds, Kitty Kiernan, a Pivotal filly out of a dam who is a half sister to Group One juvenile winner Spartacus, may get the better of her six male rivals.

The Bolger trainee has split a pair of decisions with Lillie Langtry, who was second in the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot. sports@thenational.ae