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Big weekend for Series horses in Ireland before Investec Derby Festival takes centre stage

24 May 2013

At home the focus will be on the Betfred Temple Stakes, race five in the QIPCO British Champions Series, but some big names will also be running in Ireland, notably Just The Judge, Van Der Neer and Camelot.

Camelot wins the 2012 Investec Derby. He reappears in Ireland on Sunday, but who will take his Epsom crown the following Saturday? Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Three big races take place in Ireland this weekend – the Irish 2000 and 1000 Guineas and the Tattersalls Gold Cup, with much at stake for some key horses.

Van Der Neer finished better than anything – bar the ultra-impressive winner, Dawn Approach – to claim third place in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the opening QIPCO British Champions Series race three weeks ago, and he now has a first-rate chance of claiming victory in the Irish equivalent for the Richard Hannon-Richard Hughes partnership.

Just The Judge, who looked nailed on to win the QIPCO 1000 Guineas until Sky Lantern got the better of her in the final strides, will look to go one better in the Eithad Airways Irish 1000 Guineas for trainer Charlie Hills and jockey Jamie Spencer.

Camelot, meanwhile, brilliant winner of last year’s QIPCO 2000 Guineas, Investec Derby and Irish Derby, makes his second appearance of the season in the Tattersalls Gold Cup in which the Roger Charlton-trained Al Kazeem looks to be his only serious opponent in a four-runner race.

The QIPCO British Champions Series race in the UK this weekend is the Betfred Temple Stakes after which attention turns to Epsom and the Investec Derby Festival which starts a week today.

Dawn Approach is now odds-on favourite for the Investec Derby following the withdrawal of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Telescope, who has sore shins, while another Irish raider, St Nicholas Abbey, will be odds-on for the Investec Coronation Cup as he looks to make history by winning the race three times for Aidan O’Brien.

Trainer Jim Bolger said of Dawn Approach yesterday: "He’s come out of the Guineas very well, his performance there was spectacular.

"I couldn’t be happier with the horse and he’s been thriving ever since. I’ve no doubt he’s improving."

The Qatar Racing-owned Chopin, trained in Germany by Andreas Wohler, the Andre Fabre-trained Ocovango and the Aidan O’Brien duo of Mars and Battle Of Marengo are likely to be his toughest oppoents.

Secret Gesture is ante-post favourite for the Investec Oaks after her impressive victory at Lingfield, while the Tattersalls Musidora winner, Liber Nauticus, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, and Aidan O’Brien’s Moth will both have a great chance in the fillies’ middle distance Classic.