1. Arthur's Kingdom - Aidan O'Brien/Wayne Lordan
A ?260,000 Camelot colt, he was never out of the front two in four runs last season; taking a Gowran Park maiden (1m, heavy) in October before also finishing second in a 1m2f heavy-ground French Group 1. He was second in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on seasonal bow, giving best only to the progressive Pyledriver. Sports cheekpieces for the first time here.
2. Chiricahua - Ger Lyons/Colin Keane
Twice runner-up in backend maidens last season at Navan and Naas last season (1m, soft/heavy) he's open to plenty improvement for this respected trainer/jockey combo (fresh off maiden Classic winner in the Irish 2,000 Guineas); but a line of form through Nobel Prize gives him plenty to find with Santiago on seasonal return tackling a new trip.
3. Crossfirehurricane - Joseph O'Brien/Shane Crosse
Kitten's Joy colt made it a perfect 4-4 on his return when taking the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at this track over a mile and a quarter. Looks a very talented sorted and, on that evidence, still very much a work in progress. Stamina to prove now but lots to like about him.
4. Dawn Patrol - Aidan O'Brien/Ronan Whelan
Well-held in one start last season, he was second-best in a one-two-three-four for his trainer in a 1m2f Leopardstown maiden this month (5-4fav) and stayed on in a fashion that suggests this trip will be fine. The third in that, Amhran Na Bhfiann, is bound the Epsom Derby next weekend, while the winner Tiger Moth and third Order Of Australia both run here.
5. Fiscal Rules - Jim Bolger/Kevin Manning
Winless in two starts but has kept some strong company; second to subsequent Newmarket 2,000 Guineas runner-up/St James's Palace Stakes third Wichita here on debut last season and didn't have the best passage when fifth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas here this month on return. Should be much more to come over this longer trip.
6. Galileo Chrome - Joseph O'Brien/Edward Greatrex
Australia colt was much-improved on seasonal reappearance/second start when narrowly winning a 1m2f maiden around here 15 days ago. Bare form leaves him with plenty to ponder now stepping up into exalted company. Seemingly third in the pecking order from his yard.
7. Gold Maze - Jessica Harrington/Shane Foley
Confirmed last year's promise when second to Crossfirehurricane here this month over 1m2f on reappearance in Group 3. Could be more to come up in trip and trainer/jockey scarcely could be in better form. This prize has so far eluded Jessica Harrington but he's an each-way player.
8. Iberia - Aidan O'Brien/Michael Hussey
Maiden winner here last season and lots of positive experience afterwards in Group-race company. Sported first-time blinkers on reappearance when 2-length third behind Cormorant in Leopardstown Derby Trial (stablemate Russian Emperor won the Hampton Court at Ascot next time). Further progress not ruled out.
9. King Of The Throne - Emmet Mullins/Rachel Blackmore
Just behind Galileo Chrome in 1m2f course maiden this month on reappearance; that was a marked improvement on last year's form. Likely to be an outsider here but Rachel Blackmore booked to ride and that certainly adds more than a touch of intrigue.
10. Order Of Australia - Aidan O'Brien/Padraig Beggy
Another with something to find on the book; he finished third behind Tiger Moth in this month's reappearance at Leopardstown over 1m2f, sporting first-time blinkers (retained today). He's closely related to Group 1 winner Iridessa and, with these connections, large scale improvement can't be ruled out under last year's winning rider.
11. Santiago - Aidan O'Brien/Seamie Heffernan
By Epsom Derby winner Authorized and showed marked improvement on seasonal bow when decisively winning the Queen's Vase at Ascot (1m6f, soft) from the promising Berkshire Rocco. Last season's second to Alpine Star in a Galway maiden reads rather well after the filly demolished her rivals in the Coronation Stakes last weekend. Quick turnaround is of some concern, while he drops in trip and meets faster ground too.
12. Sherpa - Donnacha O'Brien/Billy Lee
Didn't have the clearest passage when third behind Crossfirehurricane in the Gallinule here recently and was staying on well at the line. Step up in trip ought to suit now. That was his first run for Donnacha O'Brien having departed Ballydoyle in the winter and if there's one thing these regally-bred sons aren't afraid to do; it's get the upper hand on their maestro-trainer father. Dangerous outsider.
13. Sunchart - Andrew Slattery/Ben Coen
Got within 1¼-lengths of Santiago in their debut at Listowel back in September before justifying favouritism at Tipperary to open account second time up. He weakened to be distant last of six on reappearance in the Derby Trial at Leopardstown (sent off 9/2) this month and, while he clearly retains scope for much better; he would do very well to snag some place money in this contest.
14. Tiger Moth - Aidan O'Brien/Emmet McNamara
Went close here on debut last term and improved on return when leading home Ballydoyle one-two-three-four in Leopardstown maiden (1m2f, good to firm) this month. Stablemates Dawn Patrol and Order Of Australia (second and third) re-oppose today and any of them could run into the money.
15. New York Girl - Joseph O'Brien/Declan McDonogh
A filly amongst colts; she won a 7f heavy-ground Group 3 here last season on her second start (form strong) and was a creditable fourth in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her return to action. She gets her weight from the boys now but will have to come forward appreciably for this longer trip to make it telling.
The Irish Derby Betting Tips
Verdict: Quite the puzzle to solve with the O'Brien household responsible for two-thirds of the field (Aidan six, Joseph three, Donnacha one). The maestro of Ballydoyle has won this race no less than 13 times, including seven on the trot from 2006 onwards, though Aidan O'Brien has only managed two in the last five years (a meagre return by his standards). Punters will recall his 33/1 chance Sovereign spread-eagled the field a year ago.
Heading the betting at 3/1 is last weekend's impressive Queen's Vase winner Santiago. He did that very nicely over 1m6f on soft-ground but faces a sharper test now and quicker ground, while the short turnaround has to be of some concern.
Stablemate Arthur's Kingdom (5/1) found only the promising Pyledriver too strong at Royal Ascot and, vitally, has enjoyed an extra 72 hours recovery time. They are both respected, while stable companions Iberia, Dawn Patrol, Tiger Moth and Order Of Australia are likely capable of improved performances here.
The unbeaten CROSSFIREHURRICANE (6/1) sways the vote for Joseph O'Brien and Shane Crosse, however.
He was confidently ridden to win the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes here earlier in the month, coming through strongly to make it 4-4, with the likes of Gold Maze (second) and Sherpa (third) behind him.
He travelled very well and, while he briefly had a wander around in front, appeared to relish the longer trip. He looks very smart and it won't be easy for anything to take away his unblemished record here as his trainer bids for a second Derby in three years.
Finally from the O'Brien posse, Donnacha's maiden Derby runner is the aforementioned Sherpa, who didn't get the clearest of runs the last day and, at 16/1, could run a massive race here with Billy Lee taking over in the saddle.
The outsider of the pack is King Of The Throne for Emmet Mullins and while he's got plenty to find on paper, the booking of Rachel Blackmore to ride will certainly put some extra focus on him and he might interest some to sneak a place at 66/1.
Second choice, though, is Jim Bolger's FISCAL RULES at 9/1. His debut second (beaten a head) behind Wichita here last season has a very strong look about it now; while he showed his well-being with a four-length fifth behind Siskin in the Irish 2,000 Guineas here recently.
He's always been likely to improve going up in distance given his pedigree and now races beyond a mile for the first time. Connections won this contest in 2013 with Trading Leather in the same colours and a big showing from Kevin Manning's mount is expected. He can give the O'Brien dynasty something to think about.