Bolshoi Ballet raced into clear favouritism for the Derby with a runaway victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday afternoon.
Following a series of unsatisfactory trials for the Epsom Classic it was normal service for Europe’s leading trainer, Aidan O’Brien, who recorded his 14th win in the race through a commanding victory with his exciting colt.
Ryan Moore and Bolshoi Ballet tracked the big outsider Wexford Soil in the early stages of the contest, before taking over with three furlongs to run and quickly scooting clear with a quarter of a mile remaining.
The outcome was instantly beyond doubt, and the even-money favourite crossed the line six lengths clear of his vain pursuers, led by stablemate Lough Derg. Mac Swiney failed to boost his Derby prospects by managing only a near seven-length fourth.
O’Brien won the Group Three event with the subsequent Derby winners Galileo and High Chaparral in the early 2000s and Bolshoi Ballet was immediately cut into 2-1 for the Epsom race on the first Saturday in June.
The winning trainer said: “The plan was always to give him the two runs [before the Derby]. He’s a horse that’s coming forward and we were delighted with him – he relaxes, he quickens and he stays. He had to be taught to stretch today and he did – he stuck his toe out and quickened.”
Asked about whether he thought the winner would handle the notoriously tricky track at Epsom, O’Brien said: “He’s big horse but very well proportioned. The lad who rides him every day says he’s a very well balanced horse. His plan has been perfect so far.”
Ffos Las 1.00 Equus Dancer 1.30 Bembridge 2.05 Baratineur 2.40 Landofsmiles 3.15 Everything For You 3.50 Lex Talionis 4.20 Clondaw Rigger 4.50 Dynamite Kentucky
Catterick 1.08 Mr Professor 1.40 Fashion Advice 2.15 Ooh La Lah 2.50 Act Of Magic 3.25 Zylan 4.00 Perfect Balance 4.30 Tomorrow’s Angel 5.00 Tathmeen
Lingfield Park 1.15 Mr Mac 1.50 Vitesse Du Son 2.25 Banner Moonshine 3.00 Hey Ho Let’s Go 3.35 Violet’s Lads 4.10 I’m Digby
4.45 Spirit Mixer 5.15 Thorn
Windsor 4.25 Amir Kabir 4.55 Tippy Toes 5.30 Elektronic 6.00 Kindred Spirit 6.30 Solid Stone (nap) 7.00 Aussie Rascal (nb) 7.30 Remedium 8.00 Atacamena
Southwell 5.20 Maasai Warrior 5.50 Smuggler’s Blues 6.20 Parisian Blue 6.50 Glencassley 7.20 Mackelduff 7.50 Hereia 8.20 El Jefe
Moore said afterwards: “He’s a very professional horse. He was always travelling beautifully and it was all very smooth. He ticks a lot of boxes and has improved with every run.
“This was a proper test today – it was very windy out there and not perfect for inexperienced horses. What he did was impressive and we were very happy with him.”