Piz Badile Headed to Epsom


Piz Badile | racingfotos.com

He won the Oaks as a rider and now Donnacha O'Brien is concentrating on securing more big-race riches at Epsom by confirming Piz Badile (Ire) (Ulysses {Ire}) to be on course for the Cazoo Derby June 4.

Piz Badile announced himself as a genuine Derby contender when fighting tooth and nail to beat Buckaroo (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) in the G3 Ballysax S. at Leopardstown last month and, while O'Brien suggested a return to Leopardstown for the G3 Derrinstown Derby Trial could be a possibility at the time, the trainer is happy to head straight to Epsom with the colt.

The form of that Ballysax victory was given a major boost on Monday when Buckaroo bagged the Listed Tetrarch S. and O'Brien, who describes Piz Badile as by far the classiest colt he has trained, believes the general 12-1 chance for Derby glory possesses a lot of the right attributes to be successful at Epsom.

“Piz Badile is in good form, everything is perfect with him, but we decided that we will go straight to the Derby with him,” O'Brien said. “We've had a smooth run with him, everything has gone perfectly well with him since he won the Ballysax, but we think it's the right thing to go straight to Epsom with him rather than taking in another trial. So that's the plan.”

He added: “It was great to see his form boosted by Buckaroo at the Curragh. They pulled clear of their rivals in the Ballysax, so it looked like they were two smart horses at the time. But for Buckaroo to confirm that at the Curragh on Monday would obviously boost your confidence levels.

“I don't think you can ever be confident heading into a race like the Derby, but I am confident that we have a very good colt on our hands and Epsom will be a completely different test to what any of the horses in the line-up has ever faced before.

“You can't be sure about how well a horse will handle a track like Epsom, not to mention the festivities surrounding the occasion, until they go and do it. But we are very confident that he's a high class colt with a good mind. He has a lot of the attributes required for the race.”

Piz Badile burst onto the scene last summer for O'Brien by taking the same Killarney maiden the trainer won as a rider aboard Ballydoyle's subsequent Derby hero Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in 2018. Of course, Anthony Van Dyck is not the only Derby winner to have won his maiden at the County Kerry track, as Wings Of Eagles (Fr) (Pour Moi {Ire}) also broke his duck at Killarney.

O'Brien, who won the Oaks in 2018 aboard his father Aidan's Forever Together, is hoping that quirky stat can repeat itself next month.

“You need a horse with a good mind, because they need to be able to handle the whole situation, and you need a well balanced horse as well,” he explained. “If they're not balanced, they won't be going forward around Tattenham Corner, and if you're not going forward there, you may as well give up.

“Obviously they need speed, because if you don't have the pace to hold your position, you're bunched, you're completely out of the race before it's even started. On top of all that, you stamina, because it's a long home straight with a stiff finish. You need everything to win a Derby and Piz Badile has shown us at home that he has all of those things.”

He added: “Piz Badile definitely ranks up with the best that I've trained. It's hard to compare fillies and colts. Fancy Blue (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) obviously went and won two Group 1s, so he has to prove himself at that level but, at the same time, in terms of the colts, he's by far the classiest one I have ever had.

“I don't have any concerns about the Derby trip, if anything, the extra couple of furlongs will bring out the best in him. The one thing he has done on all three of his starts is hit the line really strong so he has plenty of stamina.”

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