Ryan Moore on the Epsom Derby: Sir Dragonet has a serious chance in an open race

Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore has a serious chance in Saturday's Epsom Derby

Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore rides race favourite Sir Dragonet in the Epsom Derby on Saturday, and here he gives the lowdown on him and the other main contenders...

"His 8-length defeat of Norway, a Zetland winner himself, in the Chester Vase, marks him down as a very interesting contender. There isn't a more dangerous and unexposed horse in here, that is for sure."

- Ryan Moore on Sir Dragonet

The first thing to say is that I am in a very fortunate position. We have seven runners in the Derby.

They are all trained by the best, they are all bred for it, they are all getting the same treatment at home, and they are all ready to step forward again on their biggest day.

And the reality is that, quite simply, we don't know which one of them is the best. We may all have our own opinions, but no-one knows. That is what the race is for.

They have never done it all together, so being on, or choosing, the right one is never going to be easy.

I can obviously only ride one of the seven and, given what I have said above, logic dictates you would always back one of the other six to beat me.

But whatever horse I ride, rightly or wrongly, is probably going to start favourite for the Derby, so of course that gives you a lot of confidence.

You don't need me to tell you what a competitive and open race it is this year, mind you.

Serious chance for Dragonet

My mount, Sir Dragonet (pictured below), drawn widest in 13, has come from nowhere, similar in profile to Ruler Of The World perhaps, and the fact that he has been supplemented, when we aren't short of numbers, suggests he has a very serious chance.

I haven't ridden him yet but his 8-length defeat of Norway, a Zetland winner himself, in the Chester Vase, marks him down as a very interesting contender. There isn't a more dangerous and unexposed horse in here, that is for sure.


Plenty of dangers among O'Brien's other six runners

Anthony Van Dyck is always a horse we have liked. He had Group 1 form at two, when he was third in a fast-ground Dewhurst, and he did it really well at Lingfield on his return. We thought he would need it there, and he took a blow before getting his second wind to assert in the final furlong, and he is a straightforward Galileo colt who you have to think will be involved.

I rode Broome when he beat Sovereign by 8 lengths in the Ballysax, and then he went on to score another decisive success in the Derrinstown last time, so he treads the same path as Aidan's Galileo and High Chaparral. He was just touched off in the Lagardere at two, so he has Group 1 form in the book, stamina won't be an issue for him stepping up to 1m4f, and there is a lot to like about his chances.

While I have mentioned Sovereign, this is a good horse. I know people may dismiss him as he has been well-beaten behind Broome on his two starts this season, but he got a lot closer in the Derrinstown last time and everything about this Galileo colt and his pedigree suggests the step up to 1m4f will see him come forward again, and possibly by a good amount. There will certainly be worse each-way chances than him in this race, and at a very big price, as well.

Circus Maximus has plenty of talent and is bred for it, too. He beat Mohawk snugly enough in the Dee Stakes, and he is another Galileo, so that tells you what you need to know about his probable suitability for 1m4f. He also mixed with the some of the best 2yos last season, and I can see the cheek pieces helping him to progress.

Japan was just ready to run in the Dante, and he ran pretty much as we thought he would, and said so beforehand.

Given his rushed preparation, he was ridden with the future in mind when fourth to Telecaster at York and I would expect him to get a lot closer to the winner. He has the potential to progress a lot. He won the Beresford Stakes last season, and that is a race that Aidan has won with Classic winners in Capri and Saxon Warrior recently.

Dante the strongest trial so Telecaster is respected

You would have to say that the Dante is the strongest trial. I was second to Telecaster (pictured below) at Windsor and I couldn't believe he beat me so easily there on a horse I pretty much expected to win, but subsequent events led me to question that the form wasn't as good as I first thought.

But he then went and turned away the best 2yo at York, so there is no getting away from the merit of that form, but it is equally true to say that the race went his way to a fair degree, with an unhindered lead into the race in second greatly helping him.


Madhmoon may be a doubtful stayer on pedigree but he brings the Guineas form into the race, as Masar did last year, and he easily saw off Broome in a Group 2 last season.

In terms of ability and class, he probably isn't far off any of these, but the stamina is a valid question to ask of him.

*You can read Ryan's thoughts on his other Derby day runners here (available from 5pm Friday).

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