By Craig Kemp
Last Updated: 31st May 2019
Ryan Moore’s decision to ride Sir Dragonet in the Epsom Derby comes as no great surprise after the horse was thrust into Classic favouritism once romping away with the Chester Vase by an impressive eight lengths.
Moore wasn’t on board at Chester, as he had instead opted to partner the eventual runner up Norway, with Donnacha O’Brien picking up the ride on what was apparently considered Aidan O’Brien’s second string.
And this situation has occurred more than once in recent years, with Moore having first dibs on an Aidan O’Brien Classic entrant, but ending up pinning his mast to the wrong horse. What’s more, it’s normally Donnacha O’Brien, Aidan’s son, who’s the main beneficiary.
Therefore, although Sir Dragonet is the 5/2 market leader in the Epsom Derby betting, history suggests that 9/2 shot Broome ridden by Donnacha O’Brien may prove the one to be on.
Donnacha’s Classic record
Some 12 English and Irish Classics have been run since the start of the 2018 flat season, with Moore having enjoyed two winners in this period. Donnacha has landed four.
Moore’s victories came in the 2018 St Leger on Kew Gardens (a race in which Donnacha didn’t have a ride) and this year’s Irish 1,000 Guineas on Hermosa.
Hermosa had already won the English version of the same race at Newmarket, although was ridden on that occasion by Wayne Lourden. Moore was in the saddle of the stable’s shorter-priced contender Just Wonderful, which shows another example of him selecting the wrong horse.
The most recent of Donnacha’s quartet of victories came in this year’s 2,000 Guineas, when steering Magna Grecia to victory at 11/2. Moore was only fifth on Aidan O’Brien’s 9/4 favourite Ten Sovereigns.
There’s a strong case that something similar could happen at Epsom with Broome getting the betting of more fancied stablemate and Moore-partnered Sir Dragonet in the Derby.
Broome has already won a pair of Group 3s on his two starts this season, the latter with Donnacha on board in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown.
Donnacha told the Jockey Club of his Derby chances: “The trial seems to have been quite good and his form is very solid. He is an uncomplicated horse.
“The draw is fine. It is in the middle. If anything given the choice you’d like to be a little bit wider. But the Derby is what it is, the ultimate test for horse and jockey.”