Last year’s Derby third White Birch made the perfect start to his four-year-old season with victory in the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh.

Behind only the esteemed Auguste Rodin and King Of Steel at Epsom, John Murphy’s stable star was out of luck in two subsequent starts.

Sent on his way here as the 100-30 favourite, he showed he will be a force to be reckoned with this year, making ground from two furlongs out and keeping on strongly over the 10 furlongs of the Group Three affair to hold Maxux by a neck.

George Murphy, assistant to his father, said: “That was lovely, we’re delighted with that.

“You’d always be worried a bit about fitness on that sticky ground but he did it lovely in the end, behaved very well and we couldn’t be happier with him. It was a lovely way to start.

“He did everything right today, he was at the start for a good while and he was very chilled out. He travelled lovely throughout the race and did what he had to do when it mattered. He seems more mature.

“He’s in the Coronation (Cup) and in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, we’ll have a chat with the owners and see what they want to do from here. We’ll see how he comes out of it first and go from there.

“He’s clearly fairly good at a mile and a quarter, but obviously going back to a mile and a half is no issue either.”

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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