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Ryan Moore caught a few people by surprise on Thursday when, from a choice of six, he picked Mogul as his ride in the 241st Investec Derby.
Earlier in the week Aidan O’Brien intimated Moore would most likely ride the Ascot winner Russian Emperor who was shorter in the betting although changed upon news of Moore’s decision.
At the end of last year Mogul, a full-brother to last year’s close third, Japan, was the chosen one and billed as the trainer’s ‘Derby horse’ for this year much as Japan was a winter earlier.
However Mogul was beaten nearly five lengths into fourth by Pyledriver in the Edward VII Stakes at Ascot. His run down the outside came to a halt at the furlong pole when he tired.
Earlier this week O’Brien said that he had hoped to give Mogul two runs before the Derby and that, whatever the colt did at Epsom, he would improve again for the run. However Moore clearly believes with that run under his belt the colt which cost £3.4 million as a yearling is now the pick of the bunch.
Although it remains unclear whether they will have to quarantine for 14 days (and consequently miss two weeks) on their return to Ireland Seamie Heffernan (Russian Emperor), Padraig Beggy (Vatican City) and Emmet McNamara (Serpentine) will be flying over to ride at Epsom.
The favourite, English King, drifted out to 3-1 in the betting after being drawn in stall one which means Frankie Dettori will need to draw on all his experience otherwise he will find himself on the outside on the first right-hand dog-leg and could then be pinned against the rail for Tattenham Hill. The last horse to win from that stall was Oath in 1999.
However he is not the only one among the market leaders in the 16-runner race with an iffy draw. Mogul (2) and Kameko (11) are both drawn in stalls which have not produced a winner since starting stalls replaced a flag start in 1967.