O'Brien Issues Update On Epsom Runners


Aidan O'Brien | Scoop Dyga

Twenty years ago, Aidan O'Brien won the Derby for the first of his record eight times with Galileo (Ire), whose son Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) is currently ante-post favourite for the Cazooo Derby on June 5. The Ballydoyle trainer also has the favourite for the Cazoo Oaks, Santa Barbara (Ire), who is by another of his Derby winners, Camelot (GB).

Issuing an update on the G3 Ballysax S. winner Bolshoi Ballet, O'Brien said, “I am very happy with him, everything has gone well so far. He is a very well-balanced horse. He seems to get the mile and quarter very well and he is very relaxed, very off-handed, and tactically he is very easy to place in a race.

“We always thought middle distances wouldn't be a problem to him. Obviously you are never sure until you run over the mile and a half, but we always thought he would stay.”

The trainer also has the Galileo colt High Definition (Ire) among his Derby team of five and he said of the recent G2 Dante S. third, “Obviously, he had a very interrupted preparation–a week before the Dante he wouldn't have been able to run. He just came right a couple of days before. We knew he had to run if he was going to the Derby and we couldn't have been happier.

“Obviously, we were going to ride him patiently, kindly and gently, and that is what Ryan did. We were very happy with his run at York. He covered the last three furlongs quicker than anyone else in the race, so that is a very good sign for a horse like him.”

The quintet is completed by the Camelot colts Sir Lamorak (Ire) and Sir Lucan (Ire), as well as G1 Criterium International winner Van Gogh (American Pharoah).

“It's what the foundation of the thoroughbred is built on really,” added O'Brien of the Derby. “It is the ultimate test and they are tested in every way–speed, stamina, courage and balance.”

Along with Santa Barbara, the trainer's Oaks entries include the impressive G3 Musidora S. winner Snowfall (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), Divinely (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and La Joconde (Ire) (Frankel {GB}).

He said of the favourite, who was fourth in the 1000 Guineas on her seasonal debut, “It was a big risk going to the 1000 Guineas on only her second run, but she ran very well. This was always pencilled in to be her next run. She came out of the 1000 Guineas well and everything has gone well with her since. She hasn't been over that far before, but she is a Camelot filly and we are really looking forward to seeing her run. She was always very special in her work.”

Snowfall is also pleasing O'Brien, who said, “We always thought the world of Snowfall last year, but we could never get her to produce what she was doing at home. Maybe a little bit of time over the winter, maybe she matured from two to three and a little bit extra distance has helped her. Physically she has done well since and mentally she is lovely, so it is very possible that she could really take off.”

O'Brien could also have up to six runners in the Coronation Cup on Friday, June 4, including last year's Derby and Oaks winners Serpentine (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). The list is completed by Japan (GB) and his full-brother Mogul (GB), both sons of Galileo, as is fellow entrant Armory (Ire). Recent G2 Mooresbridge S. winner Broome (Ire), by Derby winner Australia (GB) is also engaged.

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