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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Ryan Moore to ride Mendelssohn in Kentucky Derby, says Aidan O'Brien

Mendelssohn: a brilliant winner of the UAE Derby last month
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Aidan O'Brien on Sunday confirmed Ryan Moore is set to miss the Qipco 2,000 Guineas to ride the trainer's Mendelssohn in the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

Ever since Mendelssohn produced a brilliant performance under Moore to win the UAE Derby at Meydan last month, there has been speculation over whether the pair would be reunited in Louisville, since doing so would mean missing the Newmarket Classic on the same day.

Watch Mendelssohn win at Dundalk in March

The widespread expectation was that Moore would head to Kentucky for a shot at glory in America's biggest race, which he has long spoken about wanting to win, and at Navan on Sunday O'Brien confirmed that was likely to be the route taken.

O'Brien, whose son of Scat Daddy is bidding to become the first European-trained winner of the 1m2f Classic, said: "I think it was a straightforward enough decision for Ryan - he's always been fascinated by the Kentucky Derby."

Owned by the Coolmore partners Moore primarily rides for, Mendelssohn already has a big-race US success on his CV courtesy of November's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, but he underlined his credentials for dirt when powering to an 18 and a half length victory in the UAE Derby.

He is vying for favouritism for the race with British bookmakers, who rate him a general 9-2 shot alongside Bob Baffert's imposing chestnut Justify.  

O'Brien, responsible for leading Guineas contenders Gustav Klimt and Saxon Warrior, last had a Kentucky Derby runner in 2013 when Lines Of Battle, who also won the UAE Derby and was ridden by Moore, finished seventh behind Orb.

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E.W. Terms
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