Ryan takes the reins aboard another Classic favourite when he rides Wings of Eagles in Saturday's Irish Derby. Can Aidan O'Brien's Derby winner replicate his Epsom success in Ireland?
"Looking back at the Derby, I think you have to say he won the race on merit, in the manner of a high-class colt, and he comes into this Irish Derby as the worthy favourite."
Wings Of Eagles
Although he won at Epsom at 40/1 I don't think anybody was that shocked that he managed to come out on top. We always said before the race that each of Aidan's horses was going there on their merits, and they were all capable of stepping up to the plate. Of course, he had a fair bit to find on form but he always shaped like a stayer at two - the only time I have ridden him he finished fourth in the Zetland Stakes - and he clearly shaped with a lot of promise when second to Venice Beach in the Chester Vase.
And, looking back at the race, I think you have to say he won the race on merit, in the manner of a high-class colt, and he comes into this Irish Derby as the worthy favourite. But, as with Epsom, I don't think you can rule out the likes stablemates Capri and Douglas Macarthur. Taj Mahal, too, is improving with his racing and finished an excellent fourth in the French Derby last time. In particular, I think you can probably mark up Douglas Macarthur's effort given the manner in which he set the pace and battled on once headed, and the Derrinstown winner could be a little overpriced at 14/1.
French Derby second Waldgeist and Epsom third Cracksman are predictably a lot shorter in the betting, and it wouldn't be a surprise if either improved to take this given their profiles. Cracksman is clearly progressing and lightly-raced, while you have to think that Waldgeist will come on again for the step up to 1m4f.
There are still a lot of unknowns coming into this race, and it isn't straightforward to call by any means.
Check out Irish racing expert Tony Keenan's betting preview of the race