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Godolphin jockeys in line for Ballydoyle Derby mounts
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Godolphin jockeys in line for Ballydoyle Derby mounts
on 30 June 2020
Aidan O'Brien has revealed jockey plans for some of his Derby runners and why Peaceful will not run at Epsom

William Buick and James Doyle, who are both retained by Godolphin, are in the frame to pick up Derby rides for Aidan O’Brien at Epsom on Saturday. Adam Kirby could also pick up a spare mount for Ballydoyle in the classic.

While Ryan Moore will get first pick of the Ballydoyle challengers, there could be some potentially top-class spare rides available as coronavirus quarantine measures mean the likes of Seamus Heffernan may be unlikely to travel to Britain.

O’Brien has three Derby entries with similar chances according to the bookmakers in Mogul, Royal Ascot winner Russian Emperor and Irish Guineas runner-up Vatican City.

Others in the classic include Saturday’s Curragh winner Serpentine, Amhran Na Bhfiann, who is a brother to Oaks winner Was, Mythical and Armory, although the latter may yet run in Sunday’s French Derby.

“We don’t know what Ryan will ride. He’ll always make that decision late,” said O’Brien. “He’ll look at the draws, we’ll tell him what we think might happen, but it’s been different this year because Ryan isn’t here (working at Ballydoyle).

“Obviously he’ll make his decision late and then we’ll put everyone else on what we think will suit.

“We have James Doyle, William Buick and Adam Kirby and we have some of our own people, then we just have to decide what we want to do that way because with the restrictions at the moment, they can’t ride for two weeks.

“There is a chance the restrictions will be lifted, but if they are not, they won’t be able to ride until after the Irish Oaks. If they are lifted they might be able to ride the following weekend. It’s all a little up in the air and we just need to see what is going to happen.”

Commenting on the unusual situation this year caused by the travel restrictions, O’Brien said: “You do your best, you don’t want to mess anyone around, but ultimately the lads (Coolmore) will decide.

“We do our best to try not to let that happen and have the right riders on the right horses. Everyone is very understanding with the circumstances we are in at the minute.”

Asked if he favoured one of his Derby runners over the others, O’Brien added: “Any of them you have to think it could happen with.

“They’ve all got different profiles, but are in different stages of their training. It’s going to be so interesting – like the Irish Derby, anything could happen. We always hope for an even pace and a good clear run and and it could happen with any of them.

“I suppose Mogul has always looked the one, but it would have been lovely to get two runs into him.

“We always treat all the runners with total respect, but never concentrate on other people’s runners because it’s hard enough to get our own there. We just wish everybody the best of luck.”


Peaceful is likely to head for Sunday’s Prix de Diane at Chantilly on Sunday, with Love heading for Saturday’s Oaks at Epsom, as O’Brien looks to keep his star fillies apart.

Love won the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in fine style, while Peaceful romped away with the Irish equivalent at the Curragh. Both were entered for Epsom, but it now seems likely only one will run.

“I was talking to the lads (John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor) this morning and it looks like Love, Passion and Ennistymon will go to Epsom,” said O’Brien.

“Peaceful might go to the Diane. That’s what we’re thinking at the moment anyway. The Diane is worth a lot of money.

“I think it’s a question of splitting them up – that’s the way the lads are thinking at the moment and you can’t blame them for that.

“The other two going to Epsom with Love are very good fillies. One of them was second and the other one was third in the Ribblesdale, so they are both very good fillies.

“Everything has gone well with Love. Everyone who rides her has been very happy and the plan has always been to take her for the Guineas and then go to the Oaks. We’ve always felt she’d be very comfortable going up in trip, so we’re looking forward to it.

“We weren’t sure about a mile as she got it well at two, but Ryan (Moore) gave her a beautiful, uncomplicated ride and kept it simple for her. Her gave her every chance to show all her best attributes.”


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