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Cape the one for Murtagh.

Byline: PETER O'HEHIR

JOHNNY Murtagh will decide this morning whether to partner Jan Vermeer or Cape Blanco in Sunday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

And market moves over the last 48 hours suggest that the reigning Irish champion is likely to opt for beaten French Derby favourite Cape Blanco.

Rumours this week have suggested that Jan Vermeer's work has been less than impressive since he finished fourth to Workforce in the Investec Derby in Epsom.

But Aidan O'Brien, who intends running all five of his entries, confirmed yesterday that he'll allow Murtagh to delay until the last possible moment before making his decision.

Cape Blanco, a Group 2 winner at two and convincing conqueror of subsequent Epsom victor Workforce in the Dante at York, lost his unbeaten record when producing a lack-lustre display in the French Derby at Chantilly.

So Murtagh and O'Brien have plenty of factors to consider before making their big decisions this morning ahead of the final declaration stage.

Tomorrow's Audi Pretty Polly Stakes (Group 1) is shaping like a head-to-head between Investec Oaks third Remember When and Dermot Weld's classy, in-foal, five-year-old mare Chinese White.

Nine fillies were declared at yesterday's overnight stage, the two notable absentees being Sariska and Strawberrydaquiri.

And Remember When, still a maiden despite excellent placed efforts in both the Irish 1,000 Guineas and Investec Oaks, will start favourite to emulate O'Brien's Peeping Fawn, second to Light Shift in the 2007 Oaks at Epsom before completing a superb Group 1 four-timer, in the Pretty Polly, Irish Oaks, Nassau Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks.

Chinese White, in foal to Cape Cross, will be having her final race tomorrow, bidding for an elusive Group 1 bracket, which would hugely boost her value as a broodmare.

The three-day Derby meeting opens tonight with a competitive seven-race card which will be followed by a concert from the pride of Tuam, the Saw Doctors.

And punters will be hoping that the weekend action is more punter-friendly than tonight's card, on which the Dermot Weld-trained Palm Ridge, second to Brazilian Beauty on his seasonal debut at Limerick, is napped in the opening Sycamore Lodge Equine Hospital Maiden.

Moonlit Garden makes a quick reappearance in the featured Ballygallon Stud Stakes.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2010
Words:371
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