05/09/2010 11:00PM

Midas Touch by two in Derby Trial at Leopardstown


Midas Touch gave Aidan O Brien another prospect for the Epsom Derby when he won the Group 2, $129,000 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday. But with just four horses having run in the 1 1/4-mile classic prep, it remains to be seen just where he stands in the Derby pecking order.

Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, Midas Touch tracked the rather quick pace of his stablemate At First Sight in last place for much of the way. Asked for run more than a quarter-mile from home, Midas Touch led at the sixteenth pole to record a comfortable two-length victory over the Dermot Weld-trained Address Unknown. The winning time on good to firm ground was 2:02.54 as Midas Touch and Address Unknown were sent off as the 2-1 co-favorites. At First Sight held on for third with Reiteration fourth and last.

This was the first start of the year for Midas Touch, a son of Galileo who had been fourth last time on Nov. 1 in the one-mile, Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud. That race was won by the O Brien-trained Jan Vermeer, who remains the 12-1 third favorite for the Epsom Derby despite not having run this year. O Brien said on Monday that Jan Vermeer could use the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 22 as his prep for the June 5 Epsom Derby. An option would be to send the Vermeer, a Montjeu colt, straight to Chantilly for the 1 5/16-mile, French Derby the next day without the benefit of a prep race.

The O Brien-trained St Nicholas Abbey remains the Epsom Derby favorite at 3-1, while Midas Touch is 12-1 with both William Hill and Ladbrokes.