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Aidan O'Brien: 'It will be hard for Ryan Moore to overlook Bolshoi Ballet'

Ryan Moore and Aidan O'Brien in discussion after the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial
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Aidan O'Brien has said it will be "very hard" for Ryan Moore to look beyond riding Cazoo Derby favourite Bolshoi Ballet at Epsom on Saturday, with jockey bookings for the powerful Ballydoyle string set to be decided early next week. 

The son of Galileo put in the most impressive Derby trial performance when landing the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud at Leopardstown, with Epsom rival and Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney almost seven lengths behind in fourth.

Bolshoi Ballet has been a strong favourite for the Classic ever since and is currently a best-priced 15-8 to follow up at Epsom ahead of stablemate High Definition at 4-1.

As Ballydoyle's number one jockey, Moore has his pick of rides and O’Brien gave his thoughts on what choice the rider would make at Epsom. 

He said: "We don’t ever put Ryan under any pressure but everything has gone well with Bolshoi Ballet so far and obviously High Definition’s preparation was a bit interrupted. Nothing is set in stone until he makes that decision, but Ryan will have to make that call himself. 

High Definition: was favourite for the Derby for much of the year

"They’re two fine, big horses. High Definition is probably a longer horse, a little more scopey, and Bolshoi Ballet is more compact. We only wanted to give High Definition two runs last year for that reason.

“We’ll have to see what happens on Monday or Tuesday but at the moment it’s very hard to overlook Bolshoi Ballet.”

O’Brien has eight horses engaged at this stage as he bids for a record-extending tenth Derby victory and, during an appearance on Luck On Sunday, he added: “We’re happy with where they all are at the moment. They’ll all do a good, strong piece of work on Monday or Tuesday then go through their tests the next day. We’ll analyse everything and then a final decision will be made.” 

Frankie Dettori was non-committal when asked at Haydock on Saturday about his Epsom plans, but with John Gosden lacking contenders for the two Classics, it seems certain that he will pick up spare rides for O’Brien at Epsom. 

“We’ll see how many we have in first, but we’d always be delighted to have Frankie," said O'Brien, who teamed up with Dettori to land the 1,000 Guineas with Mother Earth last month.

O’Brien also ran the rule over his Cazoo Oaks contenders, and spoke highly of supposed third string Divinely, who has come in for a substantial amount of market support this week.

She finished fourth, two lengths behind Sherbet Lemon, in Lingfield's Oaks Trial but is now as short as 10-1 having been available at 40-1 on Tuesday.

He said: "She’s a sister to Found and won a Group 3 last year and we have always liked her a lot. She had a nice run at Lingfield which Ryan was very happy with, he just said the race was a bit slow and then turned into a sprint up the straight. Her figures are all coming out very well." 

Divinely: a Group 3 winner as a two-year-old

Divinely's stablemates Santa Barbara – fourth in the 1,000 Guineas – and Musidora winner Snowfall head the market and O'Brien confirmed both remain on track for Epsom.

He added: "Everything seems well with Santa Barbara at the moment and we’re looking forward to seeing what will happen over a mile and a half. She’s a Camelot filly and they usually do stay. She’s big, powerful and classy.

"Snowfall didn’t surprise me at York. We always thought the world of her and getting the winter under her belt and stepping up in distance maybe brought out the best in her."


Read more on the Epsom Classics . . .

Taking on Bolshoi Ballet? Here are three Derby outsiders to consider

'He's the coolest dude in the yard' – Varian bullish over Derby hope Third Realm

William Haggas: I couldn't give a stuff if it was a poor Derby – you try winning it (Members' Club)

'Let's go and do our best' – Saffron Beach confirmed for Oaks bid


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Nothing is set in stone until he makes that decision, but Ryan will have to make that call himself
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