White Birch has earned rest after taking in Epsom and Curragh Classics

White Birch is set for a mid-season break following his below-par showing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Trained by John Murphy, the colt had acquitted himself with real credit in the first half of the season, following up a win on reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes with podium finishes in both the Dante and then the Derby at Epsom.

He was sent off 6-1 at the Curragh but was ultimately way below his best as he trailed home in a well-held eighth of nine and connections are keen to put a line through the performance as they now freshen their charge up ahead of a return in the autumn.

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“He’s come home perfectly sound and all is well,” said George Murphy, assistant trainer to his father.

“He just ran a little bit flat and ran in to a fair bit of trouble, so he is going to get a little break now and aim for a couple of targets at the back-end of the year.

“He’s had a tough early season so he’s more than entitled to a rest now.”

It is still to be decided what those targets may be, but Murphy admitted another crack at Classic honours in the St Leger is a possibility with the colt as short as 10-1 for a trip to Doncaster on September 16.

White Birch (left) was only beaten a neck in the Dante at York
White Birch (left) was only beaten a neck in the Dante at York (Mike Egerton/PA)

He also suggested that although a drop in class could come into the reckoning, he believes the son of Ulysses has earned the right to continue campaigning at the highest level.

“Potentially it is one of the races we are looking at,” continued Murphy, when asked if the Town Moor Classic could be on the agenda.

“We’re just discussing with the owners at the moment and haven’t made any final plans yet.

“It’s unfair to say he is not up to it (running in Group One company) after one run, although we’ll keep lesser races in mind also. But I think he is more than entitled to compete at that level.”

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