Trainer Aidan O’Brien insists no riding arrangements are set in stone for Saturday’s Investec Derby and he expects Ryan Moore to wait as long as possible before selecting his mount.
O’Brien, seeking to maintain his grip on the British Classics after wins for Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas and Winter in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, has a total of seven left standing amongst the 20 contenders for the Derby.
The Ballydoyle supremo has tasted victory in the premier Classic on five previous occasions, while Moore has ridden the winner twice – they combined in 2013 with Ruler Of The World.
Chester’s Dee Stakes winner Cliffs Of Moher is the shortest-priced of O’Brien’s septet at 4/1 currently but the trainer says there is no indication so far from his number one rider where his colours will be nailed.
That is likely to happen on Thursday morning when the pair will debrief on all their intended runners after the final declarations.
“Ryan doesn’t have to make up his mind until Thursday morning. We’ll go through all the horses and everything will be discussed. I wouldn’t say anything is written in stone yet,” said the trainer.
Venice Beach, Wings Of Eagles and The Anvil filled the first three places in the Chester Vase this month, a key trial for Epsom.
They are deemed likely contenders, along with the first and third from the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, Douglas Macarthur and Capri.
“We’ve seven left in and they all seem to be well at the moment,” said O’Brien.
“The three from the Chester Vase are very strong possibles and the horse that won the Dee Stakes and the two from Leopardstown.”
Capri is now 10/1 for the Derby having been supported in the market this week already, with the prospect of softer ground at Epsom potentially going to be in his favour.
The Chester Vase winner Venice Beach meanwhile is trading at 12/1.
Second guessing O’Brien and Moore is no easy task and while the chosen mount of the latter will be supported by punters, it is no assurance that Moore will be on the right horse come Saturday.
On that note, the master-trainer says he will allow all his jockeys to ride the race as best they see fit for their own horse, given the testing and unforgiving nature of Epsom and the scale of the occasion.
“The lads will sort that [tactics] out themselves,” he said.
“Epsom is a tough track, there’s a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs and it is the Derby.”
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