Another Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown Racecourse in Ireland, and an all too familiar result: a winner trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore partners.
Bolshoi Ballet, a three-year-old colt by Coolmore super-sire Galileo saw Aidan O’Brien secure a 14th victory in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial following the successes of Risk Material (1998), Galileo (2001), High Chaparral (2002), Yeats (2004), Dylan Thomas (2006), Archipenko (2007), Fame And Glory (2009), Midas Touch (2010), Recital (2011), Battle Of Marengo (2013), Douglas Macarthur (2017), Broome (2019) and Cormorant last year.
The expected match-up between the much-hyped son of New Approach, Mac Swiney, winner of last season’s Group 1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster, England, and Bolshoi Ballet, never materialised.
Claiming his third win in three race starts, Bolshoi Ballet tracked the race leader Wexford Soil – trained by Mac Swiney’s handler and winner of the recent QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, England, with Poetic Flare, Jim Bolger.
When asked to take the lead three furlongs from home by jockey Ryan Moore, Bolshoi Ballet showed a great turn of foot and within a few strides had claimed a substantial advantage on the rest of the field.
His stablemate Lough Derg was eventually his closest rival, finishing six-lengths behind in second, with a further half length back to the son of Australia, Fernando Vichi, trained by Aidan O’Brien’s younger son Donnacha, with a further neck back to the disappointing Mac Swiney.
Commenting on the impressive winner, who had taken the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes over course and distance last month, jockey Ryan Moore said:
“He’s a very professional horse who was always travelling beautifully through the race. He was very smooth and ticks a lot of boxes. He has improved from every run and is in a good place. It was a proper test. He has a super attitude and is a straightforward horse. That will stand him in good stead.”
This year’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial victor, bred by Bred by Lynch-Bages and Rhinestone Bloodstock, led home a one-two for the champion stallion Galileo (with Lough Derg runner-up) in a race Galileo won 20 years ago before going on to Epsom Derby success.
Bolshoi Ballet, a six-length winner, is a full brother to Group 2 Zipping Classic winner in Australia and Group 1-placed (in both the Irish and English St Legers) Southern France and to the dam of US Grade 2 Miss Grillo-placed Editor At Large. Bolshoi Ballet is also one of 10 stakes winners by Galileo out of Anabaa mares.
According to the winning conditioner Aidan O’Brien:
“He’s very uncomplicated, relaxes, quickens and he doesn’t mind where he sits in a race. We always loved him. He travelled to France last year to run on ground that we knew he wouldn’t like, but we wanted to travel him for experience. We couldn’t have asked for any more from him.”
Discussing the impressive six-length winning margin, O’Brien explained:
“We wanted to teach him to really stretch – when Ryan asked him to quicken he stuck his toe out and the race was over, so he let him coast home. He’s a lovely big horse, but very well-proportioned. He’s a close, compact horse with a lovely short back and a good pair of hips, a lovely head and lovely shoulder. He’s very well-balanced and his mind is great. He’s happy to make his own running and that’s a great trait. Everything has been falling lovely for him and the plan has been perfect for him so far, so hopefully he comes out of this well and has a nice run into the Derby.”
Despite the impressive showing in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, it is now 19 years since the winner went on claim the Derby at Epsom. On a more positive note for Bolshoi Ballet, the horse who completed the feat in 2002, High Chaparral, was trained at Ballydoyle by Aidan O’Brien and owned by the Coolmore partners, just like the favourite for the 2021 Cazoo Derby, Bolshoi Ballet.
Photos: Courtesy of Breandán Ó hUallacháin