Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to the Derby at Epsom on Saturday and pick out their 1-2-3
"...looks sure to go on improving, especially now stepping up to a mile and a half..."
Timeform on Bolshoi Ballet
16:30 Epsom, Saturday
Live on ITV
1. Adayar (Charlie Appleby/ Adam Kirby)
Ran to a smart level when filling the runner-up spot on both starts this season, in the Classic Trial at Sandown and Derby Trial at Lingfield. Further progress cannot be ruled out at some stage, but he looked a bit short of pace last time and might be vulnerable to speedier rivals again here.
2. Bolshoi Ballet (Aidan O'Brien/ Ryan Moore)
Made a successful reappearance in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in April and then improved again to follow up in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at the same course last time. That was a deeply impressive performance, quickening clear entering the final three furlongs to win by six lengths from Lough Derg. Looks sure to go on improving, especially now stepping up to a mile and a half, and rates very much the one to beat.
3. Gear Up (Mark Johnston/ Ben Curtis)
Won three of his four starts at two, including the Criterium de Saint-Cloud. Shaped as if needing the run after seven months off when fifth in the Dante Stakes at York last time, keeping on late after being outpaced briefly entering the final furlong. Will be suited by the step up in trip here and has the potential to out-run his odds.
4. Hurricane Lane (Charlie Appleby/ William Buick)
Maintained his unbeaten record with a comfortable success in the Dante Stakes at York last time, leading inside the final furlong and keeping going well to win by three-quarters of a length from Megallan. Improving all the time and leaves the firm impression he'll relish this longer trip. Must be considered a leading contender as he tries to extend his winning sequence to four.
5. John Leeper (Ed Dunlop/ Frankie Dettori)
Bred in the purple and has started to live up to his pedigree by winning both starts this season, in a minor event at Newcastle and listed race at Newmarket. Did plenty wrong on the last occasion (raced freely) but still managed to win, responding well to land the spoils by a length and three quarters from Tasman Bay. Should have more to offer over this trip in time, but there's a chance that this race might come too soon in his development.
6. Mac Swiney (Jim Bolger/ Kevin Manning)
Developed into a smart two-year-old, his season culminating with victory in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster. Had valid excuses (scoped dirty afterwards) when only fourth on his return in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown and bounced back with a career best to win the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh, proving well suited by the emphasis on stamina on soft going. Should stay and his prospects will improve if there is give in the ground.
7. Mohaafeth (William Haggas/ Jim Crowley)
Could hardly have been more impressive when completing a hat-trick in a listed race at Newmarket last time, leading on the bridle over two furlongs out and quickly forging clear to win by five lengths from Secret Protector. That performance was more about style than substance, but he is unlikely to have a problem staying a mile and a half and remains a colt of huge potential now stepping up significantly in grade.
8. Mojo Star (Richard Hannon/ David Egan)
Showed promise when runner-up over a mile at Newbury on his only start last season and he again offered plenty of encouragement when second on his return in a mile-and-a-quarter maiden at the same course last month. Nice prospect but this demands too much.
9. One Ruler (Charlie Appleby/ James Doyle)
Won the Autumn Stakes at Newmarket before filling the runner-up spot in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster last season. Shaped encouragingly after six months off when sixth in the 2000 Guineas back at Newmarket last time, leaving the impression the run would bring him on. Likely to be much closer to form this time and isn't without claims if staying this markedly longer trip.
10. Southern Lights (Joseph O'Brien/ Declan McDonogh)
Won a maiden at Leopardstown in April and wasn't seen to best effect when sixth in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at the same course last time, meeting plenty of trouble in the straight. Remains open to further progress but still has plenty to find to make an impact at this level.
11. Third Realm (Roger Varian/ Andrea Atzeni)
Made giant strides to win both starts this season, in a maiden at Nottingham and the Derby Trial at Lingfield. Relished the longer trip and coped well with the softer ground last time, making good headway to lead two furlongs out and keeping going well to win by a length and a quarter from Adayar. Likely to go on improving and has good claims of hitting the frame.
12. Youth Spirit (Andrew Balding/ Tom Marquand)
Stepped up on his reappearance with a career best to land the Chester Vase last time, relishing the extra emphasis on stamina on soft going as he stayed on well to win by a length and three quarters from Sandhurst. Remains with potential and has certainly earned his place in the line-up, for all others possess stronger form credentials.
Timeform's Analyst Verdict
It's very notable that the hugely-exciting Bolshoi Ballet is the only runner for Ballydoyle and he can give Aidan O'Brien a stunning ninth Derby this century, 20 years on from his sire Galileo's victory. He won the two main Irish trials impressively and should have even more to offer over this longer trip. Mohaafeth, Hurricane Lane and Irish 2000 Guineas-winner Mac Swiney complete the shortlist.