Ryan Moore will carry Aidan O’Brien’s history-making hopes as he opts to ride Mogul in Saturday’s Epsom Derby, writes Will Jennings.
O’Brien is vying to become the leading trainer in the race’s 240-year history after watching seven horses triumph under his auspices since 2001, with two-time Derby winner Moore choosing to pilot his colt in the 1m4f showpiece.
Moore and O’Brien have enjoyed a prolific partnership on the Downs over the years, with Moore partnering Ruler of the World to victory in 2013 followed by Minding – in the Oaks – in 2016.
And it’s Mogul who spearheads a six-strong Ballydoyle charge this weekend, as O’Brien bids to make it three wins in four years after Wings of Eagles and Anthony Van Dyck reigned supreme in 2017 and 2019.
Mogul and Russian Emperor look to be O’Brien’s best chances 19 years on from his maiden triumph with Galileo, as Irish Derby winner Seamie Heffernan – on Santiago – is booked to pilot Hampton Court Stakes winner Russian Emperor.
Amhran Na Bhfiann, Mythical, Serpentine and Vatican City comprise the rest of the Ballydoyle attack, as O’Brien looks to move ahead of Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling as the race’s leading trainer.
O’Brien had initially entered seven horses for the Epsom Classic but Armory will now not contest the duel.
Frankie Dettori will ride Ed Walker’s English King this weekend, who heads into the race as favourite after an impressive run in the Derby Trial at Lingfield.
2000 Guineas winner Kameko also arrives in Surrey as a red-hot contender, while Pyledriver, Highland Chief and Mohican Heights are among the other challengers who could dash O’Brien’s hopes of history.
The trainer is also eyeing up an eighth win in the Oaks – being held on the same day as the Derby for the first time ever – with 1000 Guineas winner Love and Irish 1000 Guineas victor Peaceful heading in as the leading contenders, while Dettori will ride John Gosden’s Ribblesdale Stakes winner Frankly Darling.
It’s all eyes on Mogul and that man Moore in the Derby, however, as O’Brien vies to enter a league of his own on the storied Downs turf.