After a number of unsatisfactory Derby trials, Bolshoi Ballet put forward his case to being an outstanding candidate for the Epsom showpiece with a runaway success in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial on a terrific card at Leopardstown.
One of four winners on the day for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, the well-backed even-money favourite was in prime position throughout and once he took over from rank outsider Wexford Soil as they began the turn for home, the writing was on the wall.
Moore asked him to stretch from the top of the straight and the response was emphatic. Clear from over two out, the strong-staying colt raced all the way to the line to beat stablemate Lough Derg by six lengths, with Fernando Vichi a close third, ahead of Mac Swiney. The winner is a general 7-4 chance to give O’Brien a ninth Epsom Derby success.
The first of O’Brien and Moore’s four winners was Joan Of Arc, who won the Group 3 Irish 1000 Guineas Trial just half an hour earlier. In a race in which it appeared to be an advantage to be on the pace from the outset, this sister to dual Guineas winner Gleneagles made all the running and dug deep to repel a spirited challenge of outsider Flirting Bridge by almost two lengths.
Leg three of the Moore-O’Brien four-timer was up when Sir William Bruce got off the mark in the Cabinteely Handicap. Moore sat close from an early stage, asked his mount to go on in the straight, and he stuck his head out to hold the runoff Snowy Owl.
O’Brien had three of the first four in the betting in the Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Memorial Maiden and it went to Moore’s mount, The Mediterranean, who relished every yard of the 12-furlong trip as he fought off the challenge of Ruling to complete the 210-1 four-timer.
Eaglefield gave Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning a winning start to the day when taking the seven-furlong maiden in game fashion. After getting the better of long-time leader Jeroboam, the Gleneagles gelding, who made his debut on Wednesday, was all out to hold the late efforts of Baldomero and Emilie Gray.
Owners Newtown Anner Stud had a good afternoon’s work, with a double. The first of them, Maker Of Kings, got a brilliant ride from Colin Keane when winning the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes for Ger Lyons. Raise You set a strong tempo, which Keane stalked before taking over in the straight. From there, he was in control and held the run of Erzindjan by a little over a length, with favourite Ace Aussie third.
Johnny Murtagh and Ben Coen completed the owner’s 29-1 double with the promising Annerville, who ran out an impressive winner of the Foxrock Fillies’ Maiden. Call Me Sweetheart set out to make all but Coen cajoled his filly along early to make up for a sluggish start. Soon in second place, she remained there until asked for extra effort from three out. In front two out, the Ribblesdale entry ran on strongly to put three and a quarter lengths between herself and the early leader.
Tauran Shaman, who won his first two career starts back in July 2019, has been frustrating to follow in recent seasons but Shane Foley gave him a beautifully judged ride to land the Ballinteer Handicap. Foley sat a long way off the pace aboard Jessica Harrington’s five-year-old, brought him around most of the field to deliver a challenge and his mount gave generously in battle to deny the consistent Mosala by a head.