Trading Leather value for Irish Derby at the Curragh

INVESTEC Epsom Derby hero Ruler Of The World bids to follow in the footsteps of Camelot last year and secure his own Derby double at the Curragh tomorrow. Trained by Aidan O’Brien, who is going for an incredible eighth successive win in the €1,250,000 Group One contest and looking to extend his own record of 10 triumphs, Ruler Of The World was a 7/1 shot when he remained unbeaten at Epsom earlier in the month.

There were doubts beforehand that the Galileo colt would have the toe to go with some of his rivals that day but, considering the slow pace, he did really well to get on top, staying on strongly to deny two of tomorrow’s rivals, Libertarian and Galileo Rock.

Looking at that form you might expect him to uphold positions over that duo and Joseph O’Brien’s mount may well do. However, the problem I have isn’t just to do with his price – he is evens with Coral – although that is certainly part of my argument for opposing him.

With hot favourite Dawn Approach performing so badly on the Downs, people were quick to crab the form of Ruler of The World’s win and, while it might be too early to dismiss it altogether, last week’s results at Royal Ascot did nothing to disprove the doubters.

Dawn Approach may have won a thrilling St James’s Palace Stakes but that was back over his preferred mile trip. The likes of Battle Of Marengo and Chopin, who was a close-up seventh that day, were disappointing in their races at the Royal meeting and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see something come out of the pack in tomorrow’s race and take the spoils.

Is Ruler Of The World really five times more likely to be victorious than TRADING LEATHER? I would reason not. The former won at Epsom but he wasn’t electric and three-year-old contests have a habit of throwing up results where form has been overturned dramatically.

In addition, Epsom Derby winners have a poor next time out record over the last 10 years with only two in that time successful, suggesting winning in Surrey takes a lot out of a horse. One of those animals was the imperious Sea The Stars and the other was Camelot, who followed up here but in a desperate renewal.

Libertarian would have a strong case of reversing Epsom form granted a stronger pace, which seems likely with Godolphin also running Cap O’Rushes as a pacemaker, and on a more conventional track.

But the boys in blue’s new purchase appears tailor made for the St Leger, as does Galileo Rock. Sugar Boy doesn’t look smart enough and I’d rather take a chance on Jim Bolger’s charge each-way at 5/1 with Coral.

A Group winner over a mile and a credible third in the Irish Guineas, Trading Leather is speedy and both his 10-furlong efforts have been strong, particularly last time here at the Curragh.

Another step-up in trip could well unlock more progress and it’s difficult to see the son of Teofilo out of the frame at the very least for his wily handler who continues in great form.

■ Pointers…
Trading Leather e/w 6.30pm Curragh