Murphy eager for Auguste Rodin rematch with White Birch

Connections of Derby third White Birch are eager for another crack at Auguste Rodin in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby next Sunday.

And should all go well at the Curragh, a possible Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe bid may be on the cards.

Trainer John Murphy has floated the idea of a trip to ParisLongchamp in October after seeing plenty of improvement in three runs this term.

The grey landed the Group Three Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown to start his Classic campaign, before a slow-starting, fast-finishing runner-up spot in York’s Dante Stakes.

White Birch tackled a mile and a half for the first time at Epsom where, despite again being slowly away, he made up plenty of ground under Colin Keane to stay on behind Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel in the Betfred Derby.

Murphy is keen to take on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Derby winner again and is a general 5-1 chance to lift the Irish Classic.

“He is in great shape,” said the County Cork-based handler. “I think we are happy enough to have another crack at him. It is going in the right direction.

“I think we fancy our chances. He’s going the right way, definitely. We are going to be looking forward to a very nice run.

“The ground is heading as though there might be some juice in it, which won’t bother him either. He’ll have no bother with ground – he’s very versatile ground-wise.

“I think that would inconvenience others more than him, because in the trial (Ballysax) it was heavy.”

Owned by Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez, the strapping son of Ulysses is expected to improve as he matures and a possible tilt at the Arc could be in the offing at the end of the season.

“He has been a bit unlucky in the Dante and the Derby,” Murphy added. “He could do with winning a big one, which would be lovely for us all.

“It would just completely turn around our profile maybe. It would put a smile on everybody’s face for sure and a pep in the step.

“And I’ve no doubt he will improve with age, given his physique. He is a big horse, he’s getting stronger. I’ve not any doubt he will improve.

“He is in the Champion Stakes and I think he is going to be put into the Arc. We’ll see how he progresses. We will discuss it with the owners and we’ll see what they want to do, but we’re really looking forward to next weekend first.”

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