Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Aidan O’Brien’s colt Mendelssohn can score a first for Europe

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Ryan Moore has also forsaken the 2,000 Guineas to ride him, which is a positive. I like Moore. He either has long arms or he is the only jockey who goes out to ride with his sleeves rolled up which, in my book, demonstrates intent.

At early morning exercise in Dubai prior to the UAE Derby in March, I was chewing the cud with the American trainer Bob Baffert when Mendelssohn trotted past and, casting his expert eye over the colt, he joked: “There is the second-best Scat Daddy in the world.”

It clearly invited the question “and which is the best?” to which he replied that he had one called Justify, the winner of both his starts but in the trainer’s words “bit late to the party”, who would be going for the Santa Anita Derby next.

Baffert is no mug and the big chestnut with, in the trainer’s words “the beautiful, most gorgeous big back-end” – don’t worry it is a compliment when said about a horse – won that race by three lengths.

Justify is now 3-1 favourite for the Kentucky Derby even though, like Mendelssohn, has his own hoodoo to break – it is 136 years since a horse won the Kentucky Derby not having run at two.

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