Aidan O'Brien with Bolshoi Ballet after the Ballysax
Aidan O'Brien with Bolshoi Ballet after the Ballysax

‘Not set in stone’ but Aidan O’Brien expecting Ryan Moore to side with Bolshoi Ballet in Derby


Aidan O’Brien admits it will be “very hard to overlook Bolshoi Ballet” when the time comes for Ryan Moore to choose which of Ballydoyle’s contenders to ride in the Cazoo Derby.

O’Brien, who currently still has eight possible runners among the remaining entries for the Epsom Classic next weekend, has a familiar stranglehold on the top of the ante-post market with favourite Bolshoi Ballet and High Definition.

The latter was to the fore with bookmakers throughout most of the winter, but encountered an interrupted preparation before a delayed first appearance in his three-year-old campaign when an eyecatching third in this month’s Dante Stakes at York – with Moore riding him for the first time.

Bolshoi Ballet had by then become the new market leader following his convincing Leopardstown victories under Moore in both the Ballysax and then Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes.

Ryan Moore on Bolshoi Ballet
Ryan Moore on Bolshoi Ballet

O’Brien told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday programme: “Bolshoi has won the two most important trials here in Ireland. Then I suppose High Definition went and ran a very good race in the Dante.

“So we’d like to see what’s going to happen now on Monday or Tuesday (at their final gallops).

“But I suppose at the moment it’s very hard to overlook Bolshoi Ballet.”

O’Brien plans to test the credentials of all eight possibles over the next two days, and then begin to finalise his contingent – and their riders – following discussions with principal owners Coolmore.

The eight-time Derby-winning trainer also indicated Frankie Dettori is highly likely to be among his jockeys at Epsom this year, with reports elsewhere suggesting the Italian is the obvious choice to partner whichever of the top hopes stable jockey Moore does not.

“We don’t ever put Ryan under any kind of pressure until obviously he has to make his mind up,” said O’Brien.

“But obviously everything has gone well with Bolshoi Ballet so far from each run to run.

“So obviously, if you were in Ryan’s position, you’re probably thinking that way.

“But that could change very quickly, and nothing is set in stone until he makes that decision really.”

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Noting the two colts’ contrasting starts to the season, O’Brien added: “At the moment everything has gone very smooth and well for Bolshoi Ballet.

“Obviously High Definition’s preparation was a little bit interrupted.

“So I suppose Ryan has to make that call.”

As for Dettori’s involvement, the Tipperary trainer – for whom the Italian won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket with Mother Earth – said: “Absolutely, we’re delighted to always have Frankie.”


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