2024 Irish Derby Preview

With the flat season in full swing, the big races keep on coming thick and fast and this weekend’s racing is headlined by the Irish Derby.

Taking place at the home of Irish racing, the Curragh, eight horses will line up for their shot of glory with Aiden O’Brien looking to train the winner of this race for a record extending 16th time.

The race is one of the most lucrative run on British and Irish shores with the winner of the race taking home a cool £725,000. Ahead of what is bound to be an exciting and action packed race, let’s preview each of the runners and riders who will be bidding to add their name to the race’s famous list of winners.

2024 Irish Derby - assessing each of the runners and riders

Ambiente Friendly

Set to jump as the favourite for the race is the James Fanshawe trained Ambiente Friendly. Heavily fancied ahead of the 2024 Derby, he travelled strongly throughout the race and with just a few furlongs left to run he looked the likely winner.

Unable to hold off the powerful finish of eventual winner City of Troy, despite finishing second, Ambiente Friendly ran a fantastic race and if he can produce something similar here could end up going close.

With this race being the target since his Epsom defeat, he should arrive with a spring in his step and will hope to be the third British winner to win this race in the last four years.

Los Angeles

Aiden O’Brien will saddle half of the eight runner field as he plots to win this race for a sixteenth time. O’Brien is in flying form and all of his runners warrant major consideration however the horse likely to lead the O’Brien charge is Los Angeles.

With the form of his stablemate City of Troy unknown ahead of the Derby, Los Angeles became the paddock pick on Derby Day and despite finishing several lengths behind his stablemate, his third place finish represented a strong and classy run.

Compared to some in the field, he arrives unexposed and will be having just his fifth career start. A Grade 1 and Grade 3 winner already, he is a big, strong horse that looks capable of being very special.

Whilst he has form to overturn with Ambiente Friendly, O’Brien’s horses are impossible to ignore at the moment and with Ryan Moore riding as well as he has ever done, another bold showing could be on the cards.

Los Angeles


Likely to complete the top three in the betting is the Roger Varian trained Matsuri. The wildcard of all eight runners who have been declared for this contest, he could be capable of anything. 

This will be just the fourth start of his career and just the second race of this flat season. Whilst he is untested when it comes to running races at this sort of level, his seasonal debut was hugely impressive as he cruised to a victory at Leicester by eight lengths.

Whilst he could find this race hugely competitive, his connections clearly think highly of him and his likely price of 7/1 could end up looking to be a steal.

Grosvenor Square

Aiden O’Brien’s second string for the race is likely to be Grosvenor Square. Like Matsuri he arrives at this race having just had the one start and looks to have plenty to find. 

His one and only start of this year came in the Chester Festival where he ran poorly to finish third in the Chester Vase.

Having been off the track since, it's fair to say that he should be much fitter here and an improvement is likely. 

A winner of the Group 3 Eyrefield Stakes as a two year old, he is an exciting horse but looks to have a bit to find with his more fancied stablemate, Los Angeles.


Oisin Murphy has had a tough time of things in the last few years but at Royal Ascot he showed that he was back to his very best when riding three winners.

One of the best riders in the paddock he has picked up the ride of Sunway and although he has an outside shot of victory, with Murphy on board he can’t be discounted.

Trained by David Menuisier, he was exceptionally exciting as a two year old when winning the Group 1 Criterium International. With big things expected, things haven’t quite gone to plan this year and he has failed to win in any of his three starts.

His last run was poor with him finishing well down the field in the French Derby. Only able to finish seventh that day, more will be expected here and with the brilliant Oisin Murphy on board, his chances can’t be entirely dismissed.


The third of Aiden O’Brien’s four declared runners is Euphoric. Regarded as a long shot for the race, this will be just his fourth start and he looks to have a real challenge ahead of him if he is to land a blow in this race.

Entered into the 2024 Derby, he acted as a pacemaker for his two stablemates City of Troy and Los Angeles and ended up finishing ninth. That run can’t be valued on merit due to his pacemaking role. Whilst O’Brien will let his horses race, it could be that he takes up a pacemaking role again and he might be one to avoid here.


The Euphrates

Rounding out the Aiden O’Brien quartet is The Euphrates and like Euphoric he will start the race as an outsider. 

Unlike his three other stablemates, The Euphrates didn’t run in the Derby and instead raced at Royal Ascot when finishing fifth in the King Edward VII Stakes.

This will be his sixth start and up until this point he has tasted success just once. In races of this nature O’Brien usually likes to run a pacemaker and due to the fact he raced just two weeks ago, it could be that it is The Euphrates who performs that role. No O’Brien horse should ever be discounted but he might be another to just watch this weekend.

Keeper’s Heart

Ger Lyons is one of Ireland’s best trainers but despite winning some of Ireland’s best races he is yet to taste success in this race and it looks likely his winless record in the race will continue here.

Keeper’s Heart is due to start as the outsider of the field and this race will easily be the most competitive he has ever run in. 

Having struggled to land a blow in both Listed and Group 3 races, it is unlikely that he will play a part in this race and it would be a huge surprise if he were to play a major role this weekend.