Grade One-winning National Hunt jockey Rachael Blackmore thinks it is “pretty cool” that she has picked up the ride on King Of The Throne in Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Blackmore finished second to Paul Townend in the winter championship last season and has been snapped up by Emmet Mullins, nephew of champion trainer Willie, for the Derby outsider.
The pair teamed up last week to win the Listed Martin Moloney Stakes with Oriental Eagle at Limerick. However, Mullins himself will be absent this weekend, having broken Covid-19 protocols earlier this month.
“To be riding in the Irish Derby is pretty cool for me and a fantastic opportunity to get,” said Blackmore, speaking before she rode another winner on the Flat at Fairyhouse.
“It’s such a prestigious race, and to get an opportunity to do it is a massive deal.
“It’s great to be doing it for Emmet as well – we teamed up last weekend for a Listed winner, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to be getting.
“It’s a massive deal to ride in a race like this, a real honour, to be honest.”
Aidan O’Brien fields six in in the race, headed by last week’s Queen’s Vase winner Santiago.
The Authorized colt was a comfortable winner over a mile and six furlongs, but he drops back in trip to 12 furlongs just eight days later in search of Classic glory.
Arthur’s Kingdom, who finished second in the King Edward VII Stakes, also makes a swift return to action with Derrinstown Trial third Iberia also taking his chance.
Tiger Moth, Dawn Patrol and Order Of Australia, who filled the first three places in a Leopardstown maiden at the start of the month also line up.
O’Brien’s sons, Joseph and Donnacha, are also represented in the Group One, with Joseph running the supplemented filly New York Girl along with the unbeaten Gallinule Stakes winner Crossfirehurricane and Curragh maiden victor Galileo Chrome.
Donnacha O’Brien sends out Gallinule third Sherpa.
Jessica Harrington’s Gold Maze finished second in the Gallinule and tries his luck again while Chiricahua, Fiscal Rules and Sunchart complete the 15-strong line up.