Step back in trip to suit and he has a good chance
15:10 – Maximal
He has bumped into some good horses, but hopefully this is a good opportunity for him to get his head in front. He finished second to One Ruler in his maiden last season, and on his return at Newbury he clearly ran a very good race when runner-up to the Dante winner Hurricane Lane, with some fair sorts in behind.
He probably improved again in the Dee Stakes last time, a race in which he had the subsequent Gallinule winner Earlswood back in third, and I can see the step down to a mile here suiting him as he doesn’t lack pace, and there promises to be a good gallop here. It’s a competitive Group 3 but he certainly has his chance as a 3yo getting the weight.
Very hopeful of Derby success but it won’t be easy
16:30 – Bolshoi Ballet
He is the strong favourite for the Derby and you can see why. He is clearly one of the form horses going into the race – along with the likes of the dual Group 1 winner Mac Swiney, who actually probably just about sets the standard on his Classic win – and I think his 6-length win in the Derrinstown, a race in which the Irish 2000 Guineas winner was back in fourth, was arguably the best trial for this race. You had to be very impressed by everything he did there.
I don’t see the extra 2f here being a problem, and he is just a straightforward and very classy colt. And straightforward is what you want around here, while his draw in nine is just fine. If he runs to his form and the level we expect, then he should be going close but this is a Derby and you can’t be complacent, especially against a whole host of unexposed horses as he faces here.
So no-one is expecting an easy race as there are several likely big likely improvers in here, such as the likes of John Leeper, who I have sat on and who definitely has an engine, and Mohaafeth, who has looked very good this season, albeit under very different conditions as to what he will face here. You have to respect the unbeaten Dante winner Hurricane Lane – in fact all three Godolphin horses have claims of sorts – while Gear Up beat my horse last year, albeit in very testing ground.
This won’t be easy, as we face some unknown prospects, but of course we go in very hopeful.