Saxon Warrior 'pleasing everyone' ahead of Derby date with destiny
So far so good! Saxon Warrior, brilliant winner of the 2,000 Guineas, odds-on for Saturday's Investec Derby and a potential Triple Crown hero, is pleasing everyone, according to Aidan O'Brien, who could field a six-strong team for the Epsom Classic.
Rostropovich, a 50-1 shot who makes up O'Brien's seven remaining Epsom entries, is set to bypass the Derby in favour of the French equivalent at Chantilly 24 hours later.
Saxon Warrior will be partnered by Ryan Moore for the first time since they teamed up to make history in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last October, when O'Brien broke Bobby Frankel's Group 1 world record.
The last horse to complete the 2,000 Guineas-Derby double was Ballydoyle's Camelot – also a Racing Post Trophy winner – who justified 8-13 favouritism at Epsom in 2012. Saxon Warrior is threatening to start even shorter, with BoyleSports, Ladbrokes and William Hill currently going 4-6.
"Ryan will be back on Saxon Warrior on Saturday and everything is fine with the horse. He's pleasing everyone with what he's doing and everyone seems very happy," O'Brien said on Tuesday afternoon.
He added: "Donnacha [O'Brien, the trainer's son] rides him in all his work and he's been very happy with everything over the last few weeks since the Guineas. It was his first run of the year at Newmarket, so you'd expect him to come on from that, but we'll have to see what happens on Saturday.
"I would not like to compare him to any of our other horses at this stage. We all know he was a very good two-year-old and he was a good winner of the Guineas on his first start at three, so hopefully he can continue to progress in the way he is doing."
O'Brien is currently responsible for half the 14 left in the Derby, but Rostropovich will wait for the Prix du Jockey Club on Sunday and his final team selection will not be made until Thursday due to the mixed weather forecast
"With the way the weather is, things are a bit up in the air and much will depend on what way the ground is. That delays us a little," O'Brien said.
"Delano Roosevelt handles an ease in the ground, so he will not mind any rain that falls. Similar comments apply to Nelson, who handled heavy ground at Leopardstown to win earlier in the season. Nelson is not a definite but a possible at this stage.
"Kew Gardens lost a shoe at Lingfield and we're thinking of letting him take his chance. The Pentagon would prefer nice ground, so we will see what way the weather is for him. He's gradually getting there and coming forward nicely. We're going to wait for France with Rostropovich."
Meanwhile, Idaho and Yucatan will take on Cracksman in the Investec Coronation Cup on Friday.
O'Brien said: "It was always the plan for Idaho to come here after Chester. He won nicely at Chester and has been in good form since, so he goes there in good form. Yucatan has been progressing nicely from race to race and is likely to join him."
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