‘Not set in stone’ but O’Brien expects Moore to side with Bolshoi Ballet in Derby
Aidan O’Brien admits it will be ‘very hard to forget the Bolshoi Ballet’ when the time comes for Ryan Moore to choose which of Ballydoyle’s contenders to compete in the Cazoo Derby
O’Brien, who currently still has eight possible riders among the remaining entries for the Epsom Classic next weekend, has a familiar stranglehold on the top of the market outpost with favorite Bolshoi Ballet and High Definition.
The latter was prominent with bookmakers for most of the winter, but encountered interrupted preparation before a delayed first appearance in his three-year campaign when a catchy third in this month’s Dante Stakes in York – with Moore riding him for the first time.
The Bolshoi Ballet then became the new market leader after its convincing victories at Leopardstown under Moore in the Ballysax and then the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes.
O’Brien told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday: “The Bolshoi have won the two most important events here in Ireland. Then I guess High Definition did a really good run in Dante.
“So we would like to see what will happen now Monday or Tuesday (at their last gallops).
“But I guess right now it’s very hard to ignore the Bolshoi Ballet.
O’Brien plans to test the credentials of the possible eight over the next two days and then begin finalizing his roster – and their riders – after talks with key Coolmore owners.
The eight-time Derby-winning coach has also indicated Frankie Dettori is most likely among his jockeys at Epsom this year, with reports elsewhere suggesting the Italian is the obvious choice to team up with one of the top prospects, the stable jockey. Moore does not.
“We never put Ryan under any form of pressure until he obviously has to make up his mind,” O’Brien said.
“But obviously everything went well with the Bolshoi Ballet so far from every race to run.
“So obviously, if you were in Ryan’s shoes, you probably think of it that way.
“But that could change very quickly, and nothing is set in stone until he really makes that decision.”
Noting the contrasting start to the season for the two foals, O’Brien added: “So far everything has gone very well for the Bolshoi Ballet.
“Obviously, the preparation for High Definition has been a bit halted.
“So I guess Ryan has to make that call.”
As for Dettori’s involvement, Tipperary’s coach – for whom the Italian won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket with Mother Earth – said: “Absolutely, we’re delighted to still have Frankie.”