Irish Derby challenge for ‘developing’ colt Lionel

David Menuisier took Lionel to Kempton for a racecourse gallop last week ahead of his bid for Classic glory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday.

Winner of the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood, where he came from an unpromising position and finished strongly, the Lope De Vega colt is a general 10-1 chance for the Curragh showpiece.

“All is in place for Saturday, so far so good,” said Menuisier.

“He keeps on developing and getting stronger and stronger. He did a nice piece of work on Thursday at Kempton and that was pretty much his final bit and we were delighted. He’s fit, he knows the job so all is good really.

“In an ideal world I’d like good, good to soft ground as he’s a big horse. Personally I don’t like running on very fast ground, especially when they are inexperienced still. When they get older it’s maybe not as important, but when they are still learning I find they can be taken off their feet and not really understand what is happening.

“I think we’re going there as one of the major players, but obviously I’m biased. I think he’s a really nice horse and the difference between him and many of the other runners is that we have aimed at this race for a while.

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“We mapped it out before his previous run, it’s not an afterthought, put it that way – it was his main plan. We did try to run him at Lingfield before Goodwood, but he was a little under the weather. The plan was always to give him a good break before this and it has all gone according to plan.”