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2008 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Results

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Frozen Fire wins the 2008 Irish Derby (G1) at the Curragh

Frozen Fire wins the 2008 Irish Derby (G1) at the Curragh

© Amber Chalfin
July 7, 2008

On Sunday June 29 a field of 12 three-year-old colts contested the 1.5 million euro (about $2.35 million US) Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (G1) at the Curragh. Epsom Derby runner-up and Sir Michael Stoute trainee Tartan Bearer was sent off as the even-money favorite over 4-1 second choice Casual Conquest, third at Epsom for trainer Dermot Weld, and 7-1 third choice Alessandro Volta, owned by Michael Tabor and trained by Aidan O'Brien, a distant sixth at Epsom.

Hindu Kush and jockey David McCabe set the early pace while being stalked by Washington Irving, with Alessandro Volta, Bashkirov, and Upton Grey not far behind. Turning for home with four furlongs remaining, Hindu Kush and Upton Grey faded from contention, allowing Alessandro Volta to take over the lead into the long 3 furlong uphill stretch. Jockey John Murtagh asked Alessandro Volta at the top of the lane and he responded, opening up a clear lead at the 1/4 pole. Favorite Tartan Bearer, who raced in mid-pack early, moved up to challenge on the outside. At the 3/16 pole Alessandro Volta bore out into the path of Tartan Bearer, pushing the favorite out to the center of the course and impeding his rally. Frozen Fire, who was at the back of the field down the backstretch, moved to the center of the course under jockey Seamus Heffernan for running room and easily took over at the 1/16 pole, drawing away to win by 2 lengths over late-running Casual Conquest in a time of 2:31.90 over the good-to-yielding turf course. It was another head back to Alessandro Volta third, and 1/2 more to favorite Tartan Bearer fourth. Because of the interference in the stretch, the stewards disqualified Alessandro Volta and placed him fourth behind Tartan Bearer.
Results chart

Six-time Irish Derby winning trainer Aidan O'Brien, winning his third in a row, said, "This is marvelous. The race was a full, solid mile and a half and there are no excuses. All of ours have run great races, but I think Alessandro Volta got stage-fright when he turned into the straight and he wouldn't have seen a crowd like that in front of him before. Frozen Fire was second in the Dante but got trapped back in the Derby. Mick Kinane came in and said he was very happy with him and that he was a very good horse. All we wanted was an even, strong gallop and this is great for everyone involved as there are so many people in the team who make this happen. This is a very special race and The Curragh is probably the greatest racecourse in the world as it is a very fair track and really tests a horse over a mile and a half."

Jockey Seamus Heffernan, winning his second Irish Derby in a row, said, "His second last run was a serious run and he just didn't handle the track at Epsom last time. He probably would have gone close if he had. I was riding him to try to get placed and he is a bit weak but I was happy to get a lead and follow some of the fancied ones. It's unbelievable to win this two years in a row, it's a dream."

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