06/29/2013 3:02PM

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

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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.

MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
So difficult to keep win these classic distance races....that is why specialist Frankel never even attempted one......