Racing: The Silver lining

Sue Montgomery says today's Irish Derby can make up for Epsom let-down

A long-standing love affair will take the owner Catherine Corbett to The Curragh today in search of her second Irish Classic. Grey horses are her particular delight, and this afternoon her smoky-jacketed The Fly will line up with nine others for the 132nd Irish Derby.

"It goes back a long way," she said, "to a time when I backed a point- to-pointer called Gipsy Grey at 33-1, and everyone laughed. They stopped, however, when he won." Coming into ownership in 1982, she asked Barry Hills to find her a cheap grey filly. He obliged with the 10,000 guineas purchase subsequently known as Desirable, who won the Cheveley Park Stakes, finished third in her 1,000 Guineas, was traded back for a cool million, and later became dam of Hamdan Al Maktoum's 1,000 Guineas heroine Shadayid.

Next in line was Negligent, who cost 38,000 guineas, took the Rockfel Stakes at two and also ran third in a 1,000. She later joined Sheikh Mohammed's broodmare band, for an undisclosed but presumably profitable sum. Then came Nicer, a 27,000 guineas yearling. Her three wins included the 1993 Irish 1,000 Guineas, and she was sold on for 270,000 guineas.

The Fly, a close relative of Hills's beloved veteran Further Flight, was another in the bargain basement at only 11,000 guineas and with Mrs Corbett's luck will probably win doing backflips.

He is certainly entitled to put up a bold show, is likely to progress on his fifth in the Derby, and has sound place claims. But it is, ironically, another of the silver-coated tribe, Silver Patriarch, who is likely to make the winner's circle a grey area for the first time since Nathoo in 1948.

Silver Patriarch went down on the nod to Benny The Dip at Epsom, having had only one behind him at Tattenham Corner. He should find it easier to go with the pace round The Curragh's flatter gradients, will appreciate every yard of the stiff 12 furlongs and should cope with the rain-softened ground.

The Irish have won their premier Classic only six times in the last 20 years and this year Aiden O'Brien, who has already won both his local Guineas, provides the most formidable defence, with Strawberry Roan, Johan Cruyff and Desert King.

The last two fillies to contest the Irish Derby, Balanchine three years ago and Salsabil in 1990, both won. Strawberry Roan, a half-sister to the 1991 winner Generous, has always been highly regarded and ran a fine race in adversity in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, having been bashed in the face with a whip en route to her strongly finishing second. Her two stablemates are decent colts - Desert King won the Irish 2,000 and Johan Cruyff the Gallinule Stakes - but the filly, a daughter of Sadler's Wells, looks potentially the stoutest stayer.

The Irish Derby often provides the showdown between the Epsom and Chantilly winners, but Benny The Dip and Peintre Celebre are engaged elsewhere, and the only one to come on from the Jockey-Club is 11th-placed Casey Tibbs, from last year's winning stable of Dermot Weld. The sole French representative is the Longchamp 2,000 Guineas runner-up Loup Sauvage, a win for whom would surely be the only consolation for Olivier Peslier, who had to abandon his association with the four-year-old star Helissio (favourite for today's Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud) to take the ride.

Silver Patriarch can give John Dunlop his third Irish Derby, Pat Eddery his fifth and the owner-breeder Peter Winfield his first Classic of any sort. The Fly, Loup Sauvage and Strawberry Roan can follow him in.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
people
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
people
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little