Ryan Moore goes into the two-day Derby meeting in fine form after landing last week's Irish 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas. The Betfair Ambassador is aboard the favourite in Friday's Oaks and here you can read his exclusive views on all his rides...
"My filly is bred for the trip, and I have to go into the race confident of winning."
Ryan Moore on Rhododendron
14:00 - De Bruyne Horse
I rode him on his debut over 5f at Newmarket and he was pretty clueless that day, to be honest. He was slowly away and very inexperienced, so I gave him as much an educational a run as I could without giving him a hard time, nudging and pushing him throughout and trying to get him to race.
He clearly showed the massive benefit of that first run when, stepping up to 6f, looking far more like the finished article, though still showing some signs of greenness, when breaking smartly, getting on the rail and making all in very taking style at Ripon last time.
That was a significant improvement on Newmarket - the horse he beat by seven lengths at Ripon had won that Newmarket maiden - and Richard has a very good record in this race, too. If the horse handles the track and comes on again, he must have a leading chance.
15:10 - Highland Reel
This race probably lacks a stand-out in the shape of a St Nicholas Abbey and there are plenty of runners, but Highland Reel is the form horse and a top-class performer when getting his conditions. And he looks like getting them here.
He hasn't raced here before but this horse takes whatever you throw at him, and has done it all around the world in the highest class. 1m 4f on good, fast ground is what he wants, and he produced a whole host of top-notch efforts last season, with his highlights being his King George and Breeders' Cup Turf victories, not to mention his Arc second.
You can ignore his run in Dubai in March - the rain we got in the lead--up to the race severely hampered his chances - and he probably needed it too, just as he did a year before. If we don't get any more rain, then he is probably the one to beat, but he probably has a tougher task than his odds suggest and you don't need me to tell you what good horses the likes of Journey, Hawkbill, US Army Ranger and Idaho are, and Frontiersman looked worth a crack in this company after his Newmarket win last time.
If Highland Reel is on his A-game, the formbook tells you he is the one to beat, though this a very big, and competitive, field for this race, so luck in running will be a bigger factor than usual.
I wouldn't write off US Army Ranger and he could run well. He will get a decent pace at aim at, and he ran well from an outside draw when just touched off by Western Hymn in the Ormonde at Chester last time. The step back in trip will suit him, and he is steadily coming back to the horse we saw finish second in last year's Derby. Voltigeur winner Idaho finished behind him in third there, but I'd say he would probably improve for his first run of the season.
16:30 - Rhododendron
This is a good Oaks - but I think my filly is very good. We all know what a top-class juvenile she was, but we will never know how close she would have got to Winter in the 1,000 Guineas on her return as she was held up in her run at a crucial stage.
I was annoyed with myself immediately afterwards but the more you look at the race, the more you see how well the winner did it, and she obviously underlined what a class act she is at the Curragh on Sunday. My filly is bred for the trip, and I have to go into the race confident of winning.
I like Enable though, and I see her as my biggest danger. She saw the trip out really well when beating Alluringly at Chester, though the runner-up would have found the steady, early pace against her and that run will have done her the power of good. Sobetsu is a Group 1 winner after her Alary win and she did it really well there, a race in which Coronet wasn't seen to best effect from off the pace, but maybe her chances would improve with any more rain.
I am not sure how strong Horseplay's Pretty Polly win is, but I was quite impressed by Natavia when I rode her to win a Listed race at Newbury last time. She is another who wouldn't mind rain, and the quick turnaround would be another concern for her. She could just find this happening a bit too quick for her, although she is undoubtedly talented.
17:15 - True Valour
As is often the case in these types of races, there is little between a few of these and you can make a case for many. But my colt comes here after making a big step forward to finish a close third in a Listed race at Naas last time - I finished immediately behind him there on Peace Envoy - and if he progresses again here then he has definite each-way claims at the very least, albeit this is competitive, as I have said.
17:50 - Eaton Square
A winner over 6f on his debut, he went on to post a couple of fair efforts over 7f when they put the cheekpieces on, with marginally the better effort probably his run in midfield in the Horris Hill. However, he did run well for me previously when second in a conditions race at Sandown, a race that worked out okay.
A mark of 95 is tough enough, although probably justified, on those juvenile efforts, but he is obviously lightly-raced and has been gelded since we last saw him, so the potential to progress is there. The track would be a question mark for me, though.