Ones to watch in the Derby

File photo dated 09-05-2021 of Bolshoi Ballet ridden by Ryan Lee Moore. Issue date: Friday June 4, 2

File photo dated 09-05-2021 of Bolshoi Ballet ridden by Ryan Lee Moore. Issue date: Friday June 4, 2021. - Credit: PA

The Derby is the highlight of the Flat season in Britain and 12 horses will bid to etch their name into sporting folklore in the 12-furlong event, which carries a prize fund of £1.125 million.

We’ve analysed the race with a closer look at the key players.

The 5/4 market leader is Bolshoi Ballet for Aidan O’Brien. This is the first time since 2004 in which O’Brien has run just one horse in the race.

The three-year-old has looked imperious in two starts this season and showed a stunning turn of foot to win the Derrinstown, a recognised Derby trial, at Leopardstown in May.

This is of course the Derby and he will once again have to step up. However, he looks the one to beat and is a hugely exciting horse.

His rivals are headed by john Leeper (13/2) who will have the services of Frankie Dettori in the contest.

The three-year-old is a son of 2010 Oaks heroine Snow Fairy and he has warmed up for the Blue Riband event with two smooth victories this term.

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Mohaafeth (7/1) is another contender having won his last three starts.

The William Haggas-trained colt was a very smooth winner at Newmarket last time out and is deeply respected despite this step up in grade.

Mac Swiney (7/1) represents legendary Irish trainer Jim Bolger and is an each-way player on the back of his win in the Irish 2000 Guineas.

He should build on that effort stepping up in trip and enters the mix along with Dante hero Hurricane Lane (8/1) who is unbeaten in three starts and stayed on good style at York last time out.

Third Realm (12/1) captured the Lingfield Derby Trial on his most recent start and is another with each-way claims.

Amongst the rest of the line-up, Youth Spirit (33/1) captured the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood and is interesting at a bigger price, given his stamina seems assured, whilst One Ruler (25/1) has been forgotten about in the build-up to this race having finished sixth in the 2000 Guineas in May.

Gear Up (40/1) was a Group One winner last season, but ultimately disappointed when fifth in the Dante and has questions to answer.

Southern Lights (20/1) was sixth to Bolshoi ballet in the Derrinstown, but needs to improve markedly.

Mojo Star (100/1) has filled the runner-up spot in two minor events and completes the 12 runners.


Bolshoi Ballet makes plenty of appeal. He was sensational in the Derrinstown and it looks telling that he is O’Brien’s only runner in the race. The dangers are probably headed by John Leeper who remains thoroughly unexposed and Classic winner Mac Swiney.

At bigger prices, Youth Spirit and One Ruler could outrun their odds given they both shape as if sure to be suited by this step up in trip.

However, Bolshoi Ballet looks the class horse in the race. He looks a guaranteed stayer and has a plum draw in stall 9.

Barring any mishaps, he looks sure to go close to providing Aidan O’Brien with a ninth win in the event. 

1 Bolshoi Ballet 5/4 One Ruler 25/1 3 Youth Spirit 33/1

Selections from OLBG