Andy Slattery hoping to upset Ballydoyle big guns with Irish Derby outsider
Trainer Andy Slattery may be facing a David versus Goliath-type scenario when lining up in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, but the shrewd Tipperary handler is relishing the chance to target a Classic upset with his high-class colt Sunchart.
The Pat Garvey-owned son of Teofilo looked a smart prospect when second to favourite Santiago on debut at Listowel and winning at Tipperary as a juvenile, but a disappointing Derrinstown Derby Trial display earlier this month seemed to derail his progress.
However, Slattery feels his exciting three-year-old can be excused for his Leopardstown blip and is looking forward to the tough assignment, having overcome an injury scare.
Speaking on a webinar building up to the Dubai Duty Free-backed Derby festival, Slattery said: "He lost his action three furlongs out in the Derrinstown and I just wasn't happy with him when he came back in.
"We got the vet to see him first thing the following morning and he was lame, actually he got lamer as the day went on. After about three or four days it passed on, it was something minor with a bit of bone pain in a hind leg, but since we started back we're delighted with him."
He added: "I never thought I'd have a runner in the Irish Derby and after Leopardstown I thought it was gone, but three or four days after Leopardstown he came back a bit and we've been happy with his work since."
The general 33-1 outsider will provide 18-year-old apprentice Ben Coen, who is also Slattery's nephew, with his first ride in the race. The trainer is confident that the big moment will not phase the bright, young talent.
"Ben knows the horse well," he explained. "He's only 18 but I have no worries about him, he's able to hold his ground with anyone.
"He doesn't hold any fear, he doesn't get excited and that should stand to him. Nerves won't be on him anyway."
Slattery will also send one of his star performers into battle on the weekend's undercard at the Curragh, with Futurity Stakes second Rebel Tale in the 1m2f Finlay Volvo Cars Race on Sunday.
The 104-rated performer will be in calmer waters than earlier this month when finishing down the field after suffering interference in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at 125-1.
"He got a bump a furlong out when he was going to run a nice race," said Slattery.
"He's one of those horses that will improve for racing and we weren't able to get him away, so I'm looking forward to him on Sunday."
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