Being labelled ‘ best jockey in the world ‘ comes with very few downsides, one of which is the fact that no matter how much your services are required on the global stage you cannot be in two places at the same time. The man currently regarded as possibly the world’s finest at the moment – Ryan Moore – could face just such a dilemma next month when having to choose between riding in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket or the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
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With Irish maestro Aidan O’Brien being responsible for three of the first six horses in the ante-post market for the first Classic of the season, including 5-1 favourite Saxon Warrior, Moore would be virtually guaranteed to be aboard the leading contender for the Qipco-sponsored contest on Saturday May 5th should that be the plan for the powerful Ballydoyle enterprise. But a spanner was put firmly in the works at Meydan on Saturday following the hugely impressive victory of the stable’s Mendelssohn in the Group 2 UAE Derby.
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No European-trained horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby and in five attempts to date the fifth place of Master Of Hounds in 2011 is the best that O’Brien has achieved so far but that could all change in five weeks time as in Mendelssohn he looks to have a serious contender for “ The Run For The Roses, “ America’s greatest race which dates back to 1875.
The son of Scat Daddy has already proved victorious in the US when taking the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar in November but in breaking the track record with a staggering eighteen and a quarter length win over Rayya and Reride in Saturday’s one mile one and a half furlong event Mendelssohn looked something else on his first attempt at a dirt surface, resulting in bookmakers cutting the horse into a top price 6-1 with William Hill and Betfred for the first leg of the US Triple Crown. Moore would not be drawn on where he is most likely to be on May 5th but there are many jockeys out there who would be delighted to be faced with such a problem.