O'Brien wields strong hand for Epsom Derby

Whilst the focus may be on City of Troy for the Epsom Derby, Aidan O'Brien remains mob-handed for the race with multiple strong fancies, including the unbeaten Los Angeles.

Trainer : AIDAN O'BRIEN.
Trainer : AIDAN O'BRIEN. Picture: PA

Winner of the Derby Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday, the colt was given a general price of 7/1 for the Epsom Classic after his third straight victory and has already tasted success at Group 1 level, having taken the Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a juvenile.

"We were very happy with Los Angeles yesterday," said O'Brien, during a media morning organised by the Jockey Club.

"The horse that made the running – that was the way it was going to suit him. Maybe we should have sat a bit closer to him if it had been a stronger race, but Wayne (Lordan, jockey) was very happy with the horse.

"He's a big, relaxed horse. We always thought he would step up big time when he went to a mile and a half, and we were very happy with the way that he won so he's definitely a possible.

"He's going to progress big time. I don't know if you saw him yesterday, but he was carrying plenty too. He's a big, burly horse. He has a big chance really.

O'Brien has been known to unveil a good one during Chester's May meeting and has won six of the last seven renewals of the Dee Stakes, including with this year's Derby hopeful Capulet. Whilst the colt could only manage third behind Bracken's Laugh at Chelmsford on his seasonal reappearance, he turned around the form with a dominant victory at Chester over the same rival.

"Capulet could go. There's been a lot of interest in him from Hong Kong and all these places so it's possible too. He was always a horse that was going to step up going to a mile and a quarter and we always thought he was going to step up even further if he went further. Ryan rode him positively.

"We went to the all-weather at Chelmsford. In case he was forward enough he would have gone to the Kentucky Derby but when we ran him, he wasn't forward enough and that's why he went to Chester. Ryan was very happy with him. He's got plenty of class, he's lazy and finds plenty for pressure. He gave him a great ride too."

The Frankel colt Diego Velazquez could be another potential option for the Ballydoyle operation, although O'Brien remains open to the possibility of the Prix du Jockey Club as an alternative. A winner at Group 2 level as a juvenile, Diego Velazquez was only beaten a length into fourth behind Metropolitan in Sunday's Poule d'Essai des Poulains.

"Diego Velazquez is in both (the Betfred Derby and French Derby). The reason for going to France was the lads were thinking of going to the French Derby and that's right-handed. We could have gone to the Dante with him but we felt he wouldn't have the experience if we decided to go to France so that was his reason.

"We thought if we finished in the first four in France then he would run a massive race in the French Derby, but he has an option because he's still in The Derby at Epsom as well. The lads will make that call as well. Christophe (Soumillon) rode him, and he said he's going to win a Group race very quickly, this horse, so he was very impressed with him."

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