The action continues to come thick and fast in the racing world and this weekend there’s a pair of cracking Group 1s at the Curragh.

Saturday is all about the Irish Derby, with an undercard of Group racing taking place at Newmarket and Newcastle too, while the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh takes centre stage on Sunday.

Irish Derby headlines Saturday

It’s difficult to find a horse that’s not trained by an O’Brien in this year’s Irish Derby, with father Aidan fielding Santiago, Arthur’s Kingdom and Iberia, while son Joseph saddles Crossfirehurricane.

Favourite Santiago (3/1) stomped away with the 1m6f Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last week and is fancied to run well over two furlongs shorter here. He’s the highest rated runner in the field and holds very solid claims with a taking win already under his belt this season.

Stablemates Arthur’s Kingdom (4/1) and Iberia (8/1) can’t be discounted, particularly when looking at the amount of times the yard’s first string finishes behind the second, third or even fourth, and Arthur’s Kingdom is expected to come on for his run at Royal Ascot when second to Pyledriver in the King Edward VII Stakes.

Iberia will also be looking to take a step forward having finished third in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

The biggest danger to Aidan’s battalion could come from son Joseph, who fields the unbeaten Crossfirehurricane (6/1). The son of Kitten’s Joy stayed on well to win the 1m2f Gallinule Stakes on his seasonal reappearance and is now tried at 1m4f.

While his pedigree is not obviously laden with stamina, all the signs on the track have been very positive thus far and he’s the only runner in the field yet to taste defeat.

Looking at the remainder of Saturday’s action, Mubakker is representing Sir Michael Stoute in the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle, while many racing fans will be excited to see Mohaather again in the Group 3 Criterion Stakes at Newmarket.

He ran a creditable seventh in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot last week and will be looking for a quick consolation.

Fillies magic on Sunday

Back over at the Curragh on Sunday, Aidan O’Brien appears to have a very firm grip on the Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes.

Magical, Magic Wand and Fleeting are all Group 1 winners, though it’s the first of those three that has maybe the deepest level of form.

Magical’s (11/10) last seven runs have come at Group 1 level and she’s only finished outside of the first two once, winning three of them.

Magic Wand (11/4) has become something of a globetrotter, running in America, Australia, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia over the last 12 months. She made a winning reappearance in the Group 2 Lanwades Stud Stakes last time out and is by no means there to play second fiddle.

Meanwhile, Fleeting (10/3) is younger than her stablemates with less mileage on the clock.

The daughter of Zoffany hasn’t won since September 2018 but has been placed twice at Group 1 level.

Elsewhere on Sunday, recent Chepstow winner Time Scale sets the standard for a good renewal of the Listed Empress Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket, while both the Carnarvon and Midsummer Stakes at Windsor look set to be hotly contested.

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