06/29/2013 3:02PM

Irish Derby: Trading Leather scores as Ruler of The World, Libertarian falter


Trading Leather further muddled the overseas 3-year-old hierarchy with a mild upset in the Group 1, $896,511 Irish Derby on Saturday at The Curragh. The heavily favored Ruler of The World, the Epsom Derby winner, mustered no rally and finished fifth, while the well-regarded Libertarian, purchased by Godolphin after his runner-up finish at Epsom, was even less effective, coming home a meek eighth of nine.

When all is said and done, the French colt Intello might turn out to be the best European 3-year-old this summer, but what’s clear now is that Irish trainer Jim Bolger has played a strong hand in the division.

Trading Leather gave Bolger – who snapped Aidan O’Brien’s seven-year Irish Derby win streak – a third big-race 3-year-old win after Dawn Approach captured the English 2000 Guineas and the St. James’s Palace Stakes. Sandwiched between those victories was a dud in the Epsom Derby, where Dawn Approach failed to handle the 1 1/2-mile trip, but that distance suited Trading Leather on Saturday.

Chasing a strong pace set by Ralston Road, Trading Leather came steadily forward on a firm, quick-playing course under stable rider Kevin Manning, reaching the front about 1 1/2 furlongs out and holding clear all challengers to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Galileo Rock finished second, while Ruler of The World’s O’Brien-trained stablemate, Festive Cheer, had the race’s hard-luck story, getting stopped along the rail in midstretch while in the midst of what appeared to be a solid rally. The winner was clocked in 2:27.17.

Trading Leather, fifth and third in his two previous Group 1 attempts, was bred by Bolger and is owned by his wife, Jackie. He is by Teofilio, whom Bolger also trained, and is out of the Sinndar mare Night Visit.