Kentucky Derby Tips: O’Brien’s Mendelssohn ready for stateside soiree
No European-trained horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby.
Thunder Snow, Lines of Battle and Daddy Long Legs have all tried in recent years. But all have failed.
Could Mendelssohn be the one to put the 144-year-old curse to bed when the tapes go up at 11:46pm UK Time on Saturday night?
Based on his run in the UAE Derby last month, he has as good-a-chance as any.
Aidan O’Brien’s fancy blitzed the field by over 18l to take home the £888,888 prize in quite stunning fashion on the Dubai dirt.
That followed a similarly stunning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf success over the 1m distance last November.
He’s proved that he can do it on the dirt. And he looks primed to manage the extra 1f on offer in the Run to the Roses.
Whether he can land a first success for Europe remains to be seen, but we certainly like the chances of the three-year-old.
Regular jockey Ryan Moore will ride the jolly from stall 14, which is set apart from stall 15, giving Mendelssohn a golden opportunity for a clean break at the start.
His main competition comes in the form of Justify.
Trained by Bob Baffert, who has won this renewal on four previous occasions, the son of Scat Daddy has an unbeaten record to protect.
This will be his first try away from Santa Anita, where he has clocked winning distances of 9l, 6l and 3l in his progression through the classes.
Rival Mendelssohn has faced tougher competition in their comparative racing careers.
But there’s a feeling that Baffert could have something special on his hands with Justify, who will be ridden by Mike Smith.
He’ll have to overcome a piece of history if he’s to land the prize, though. No horse since Apollo in 1882 has won this race after starting their career as a three-year-old.
Could that let in Audible?
Todd Pletcher’s runner is two from two so far after landing Grade 2 and Grade 1 prizes in his first pair of starts.
Magnum Moon boasts a similarly impressive record after racking up three wins in the last three months.
He’s progressed comfortably through the ranks in a short space of time and is a fair price to rattle off the four-timer in his first run at Churchill Downs.
Bolt D’oro has his work cut out if last month’s 3l defeat to Justify in the Santa Anita Derby is anything to go by.
Good Magic rounds out the main contenders, although a narrow 1½l over lesser opposition last time out does little to spark the imagination.
Hofburg and Vino Rosso conclude the the sub-25/1 shots.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication