Aidan O’Brien admits that it will be “very difficult to ignore the Bolshoi Ballet” when the time comes for Ryan Moore to choose which of Ballydoyle’s contenders will 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 at the top of the ante-post market with favorite Bolshoi ballet and high definition.
The latter was prominent with bookies for most of the winter, but encountered interrupted preparation before a delayed first appearance in his three-year campaign when a third eye-catcher in this month’s Dante Stakes at York – with Moore riding him for the first time.
Bolshoi Ballet then became the new market leader after his convincing victories at Leopardstown under Moore in the Ballysax and then in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes.
O’Brien told Racing TV’s Luck On Sunday: “The Bolshoi won the two most important events here in Ireland. Then I guess High Definition did a really good race 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 – following discussions with key Coolmore owners.
The eight-time Derby-winning coach has also indicated that Frankie Dettori will most likely be among his jockeys at Epsom this year, with reports elsewhere suggesting the Italian is the obvious choice to team up with one of the better prospects than the stable jockey. Moore doesn’t.
“We never put Ryan under any pressure until he clearly has to make up his mind,” said O’Brien.
“But obviously everything has gone well with the Bolshoi Ballet so far from race to race.
“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 was interrupted a bit.
“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 in Newmarket with Mother Earth – said: “Absolutely, we’re delighted to still have Frankie.”