Monday 18 December 2017

Late call for Moore

Cliffs Of Moher, with Ryan Moore on board, wins the Dee Stakes at Chester earlier this month
Cliffs Of Moher, with Ryan Moore on board, wins the Dee Stakes at Chester earlier this month

Bookmakers BoyleSports have gone non-runner-no bet on the Epsom Derby which currently has 4/1 joint favourites in Cracksman and Cliffs Of Moher but trainer Aidan O'Brien yesterday suggested it will be late tomorrow morning that we know for definite that Ryan Moore will ride the apparent chief Ballydoyle contender.

Strong support for the O'Brien-trained Capri saw his odds halved earlier in the week but he is still 10/1 and it would be a major shock if Moore opts against riding Chester winner Cliffs Of Moher.

O'Brien said yesterday: "Ryan doesn't have to make up his mind until Thursday morning. We'll go through all the horses and everything will be discussed. I wouldn't say anything is written in stone yet."

The champion trainer is likely to have seven runners in the Derby when the final field is declared tomorrow morning and of possible tactics for his runners O'Brien said: "The lads will sort that out themselves.

"Epsom is a tough track, there's a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs and it is the Derby."

Meanwhile, jockey Fran Berry, now based in Britain with trainer Ralph Beckett, has picked up the spare ride on outsider Salouen in Saturday's Derby.


Berry got the call up on Tuesday morning to ride the two-time winner who was placed second and third in Group One company at the end of last season.

Slyvester Kirk's charge was second to National Defense in the Jean-Luc Lagardere and was third to Rivet in the Racing Post Trophy as a two-year-old and is 50/1 to win the Derby.

Also set to be declared for flat racings blue riband contest is 1500/1 shot Diore Lia, who will be ridden by County Meath native, Gina Mangan.

The 25-year-old apprentice rider will be the most inexperienced jockey in the field as she rides the rank outsider who has sparked much debate as to whether or not there should be a minimum rating requirement to run in prestigious races.

Diore Lia's owner, Richard Aylward, removed the filly from trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam's after the trainer suggested Diore Lia shouldn't be running in the race and now John Jenkins, who has entries at Tramore on Friday evening, will saddle the maiden in the Epsom Derby and he said this week: "If I didn't run her, someone else would."

Mangan's only previous winner as a jockey came at Roscommon in 2009 and trainer Mark Johnston, who saddles Dante Stakes winner Permian on Saturday, admitted his surprise that Mangan has been given the ride.

"It's a very difficult one. I would hate to see restrictions on a race like the Derby," said Johnston.

"The most important thing about Group One competition is that it's open to anybody - anybody that pays the money and wants to take their chance.

"Having said that, all credit to Jane Chapple-Hyam, who was willing to give up the horse and say 'this horse should not be in the Derby'.

"I'm not going to say the rules should be changed or anything like that, but I'm surprised connections wanted to put an apprentice on a filly.

"The very best of fillies have struggled in the Derby and most people will say this filly shouldn't be there."

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