Ryan Moore: The exclusive verdict on my Derby Day rides at Epsom

Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore at Epsom
Ryan Moore is interviewed after winning at Epsom in June 2017
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It's a huge day in the saddle for Ryan Moore as the Betfair Ambassador rides Epsom Derby favourite Saxon Warrior. Read Ryan's in-depth views on the big race and all his other rides here...

"My horse was a Group 1 winner at two, beat some of his main rivals in the 2,000 Guineas without the benefit of a run, has won a Beresford on very soft ground, has the pedigree for 1m4f, brings the best form into the race, is unbeaten, and is a fantastic-looking horse with a great temperament."

Ryan Moore on Saxon Warrior

Chances in a competitive heat

14:35 - Shenanigans

She didn't run badly at Doncaster on the only occasion she has raced on testing ground and she probably comes here on the back of a career-best when chasing home Nyaleti at Goodwood last time. The winner was a wide-margin winner of the German 1,000 Guineas next time and this filly looks a solid and consistent proposition who should run her race.

If she does, then she shouldn't be far away, though she is up against a few higher-rated fillies. I was quite taken by Anna Nerium in the Free Handicap and she ran okay in the Guineas, so she could be the one to beat, but it's competitive.

As good a chance as any on track debut

15:10 - Breton Rock

It can rain as much as it likes for Breton Rock but, that said, a few of his best performances have come on decent ground, such as his win in the Lennox Stakes last season. So the fact that it's been dry since Wednesday isn't really an issue for him. He doesn't carry a penalty for that Group 2 win, and he has any number of classy efforts on soft ground to his name, too.

If he runs up to his best on his first start at the track - and he does go well when fresh, too - then he probably has as good a chance as any, for all it is a very competitive race with not a lot between a few of these. The two past winners of this race, Sovereign Debt and Arod, are obvious candidates, too.

All boxes ticked for Derby favourite

16:30 - Saxon Warrior

My horse was a Group 1 winner at two, beat some of his main rivals in the 2,000 Guineas without the benefit of a run, has won a Beresford on very soft ground, has the pedigree for 1m4f, brings the best form into the race, is unbeaten, and is a fantastic-looking horse with a great temperament. So, yes, he is a deserving favourite.

I always thought he had the speed to win a Guineas - I said as much after I got off him at Doncaster - and he just came right in time to win at Newmarket. I was obviously in America at the time but it was hard not to be taken by the manner of his win, where he left race-fit rivals Masar and Roaring Lion trailing behind. I think the form of that race is working out well enough and he has everything you look for in a potential Derby winner.

That said, of course you would want to be racing on as good a surface as possible, though I am not overly-concerned myself, and we missed the forecast rain on Thursday. As for the draw in one, it is what it is. You deal with the hand you are dealt, and make plans.

I am not sure how strong the Dante form was. Not that strong is my honest answer, but you can't deny how impressive Roaring Lion was and I think he will stay. You only have to look at his Racing Post Trophy form with my horse to see he deserves plenty of respect.

I do think Masar's claims have been slightly overlooked, though. He has finished in front of Roaring Lion twice this season, and is double the price of him. That doesn't quite add up to me. Of course the trip in soft ground could be an issue for him but I think he will stay okay and, form-wise, just look at his performances. He won a Craven by 9 lengths and finished third in a Guineas, and then you look at his 2yo form. He beat Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Romanised in the Solario, and had nightmare trips in the Lagardere and over at Del Mar, and still wasn't beaten far.

In terms of class, he has to be right up there in this field behind my horse.

Again, I think the Chester Vase form was solid if not spectacular - Young Rascal did well to beat a good yardstick in Dee Ex Bee on just his third start and is well-regarded - and then you have the Derrinstown. The first thing to say about that race is that I gather it was run on quick ground and not the official good - I was riding in France that day - and conditions will be a lot different here.

Hazapour was very smooth there and it was a very nice performance, and he showed a lot of speed, but I am not quite sure where that defeat of Delano Roosevelt leaves him in the context of winning a Derby. He could well have been plenty forward enough that day, too, and the formlines surrounding The Pentagon and Delano Roosevelt tie in very closely. Of course, the step up to 1m4f could suit them all, and you certainly can't ignore their claims.

I actually think the Lingfield Derby Trial may only be second to that of the Guineas in terms of strength of form coming into this race. My horse Kew Gardens ran very well there considering he lost a shoe after three furlongs - he was also slowly away and stuck on the inside early on, too - and that definitely affected him down the straight. I couldn't get him balanced on his near-fore as a result, and couldn't reel in Knight To Behold.

The winner did it really well considering he was very free early on, too, so take nothing away from him. He won like a really good horse, and I personally wouldn't be in a rush to underestimate the Lingfield form.

Return to form last time offers hope

17:15 - Across the Stars

He has run some decent races in deep ground, but I suppose ideally he would prefer a sounder surface, so drying conditions would be to his advantage.

This will be the first time he has been back here since finishing in midfield in the 2016 Derby but he wasn't far off his best for his new yard when just beaten off a mark of 97 at York last time. He has gone up 3lb for that second, and hopefully he will be as effective on this track and softer ground.


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