Ruler of The World (right) set to bid for a Derby double at the CurraghPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Ruler to go solo in Irish Derby as plans revealed
RULER OF THE WORLD is expected to be the one and only Ballydoyle representative in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 29 after trainer Aidan O'Brien took the unusual step of announcing running plans three weeks before the race.
The Investec Derby hero was one of five O'Brien-trained starters at Epsom but the two who finished closest to the winner - Battle Of Marengo in fourth and Mars in sixth - have been given alternative targets at Royal Ascot.
"We're making our plans known earlier than usual," said O'Brien, "to allow others to plan positively for the Irish Derby.
"This is what we envisage at the moment, it's not set in stone but these are our intentions, obviously subject to the horses being fit and well on the day."
Following the news, bet365 slashed Ruler Of The World to 11-10 favourite (from 6-4) for the Irish Derby.
O'Brien said Battle Of Marengo heads for the King Edward VII Stakes at the royal meeting, where Mars, an unlucky-in-running sixth in the Derby, will drop to Group 3 level for the Tercentenary Stakes over 1m2f.
Bookmakers had Battle Of Marengo and Mars prominent in the betting for the Irish Derby, which is likely to feature Epsom second and third Libertarian and Galileo Rock.
On Friday night O'Brien had suggested all five Derby runners were under consideration for the Irish equivalent, claiming it looked to be "the obvious race" for them before stating "we won't be making final decisions until closer to the race".
Gale Force Ten, second to stablemate Magician in the Irish 2,000 Guineas, heads for the Jersey Stakes while Leading Light is set to contest the Queen's Vase. O'Brien had already advised that Magician will head for the St James's Palace Stakes.
Among his older horses, O'Brien confirmed Camelot goes for the Prince of Wales's Stakes and Lockinge fifth Declaration Of War will contest the Queen Anne Stakes.
Two of the smartest youngsters at Ballydoyle could be pitched against each other at Royal Ascot after O'Brien said the Coventry Stakes could be a target for both Stubbs and Sir John Hawkins.
O'Brien is aiming for a seventh win in the meeting's top two-year-old contest and the race won last year by Dawn Approach is now the target for two colts, who are first and second favourites for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas next year.
He said: "We'll probably split the two-year-olds up between different races, although Sir John Hawkins could join Stubbs in the Coventry."
Coach House is another heading to the royal meeting following victories over the minimum trip at Tipperary and the Curragh.