Rain-lashed ground at Epsom “is not ideal” for Cazoo Derby favourite Bolshoi Ballet, the colt’s concerned trainer Aidan O’Brien has admitted.
An unexpected deluge of 11mm hit the track during Friday, changing the going from ‘good, good to firm in places’ to ‘good to soft’.
Both of Bolshoi Ballet’s victories this spring, in the Group 3 Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, have been gained on good ground, and the softening conditions prompted Paddy Power to push the market leader out to 6-4 (from 5-4).
“He was very impressive on goodish ground,” said O’Brien.
"Obviously, I don’t think it will be ideal for any good-ground horse.
“We know what he can do on really good ground, and obviously we’re not going to get that tomorrow.”
The rain is also a worry to Mohaafeth’s connections, who will walk the track this morning to assess the state of the course.
Trainer William Haggas has consistently warned the son of Frankel, who runs in the colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, would be disadvantaged by ground softer than good.
“It’s not ideal, is it?” said the downcast master of Somerville Lodge. “We’ve said all along that the horse wants fast ground, and it’s been raining all day.
“It wasn’t forecast, and they have put all that water on the track.”
But Epsom clerk of the course Andrew Cooper defended his decision to irrigate the playing surface.
“We have put half an inch of water on during the week – 5mm, 5mm and 2.5mm,” said Cooper.
“We were forecast between 1mm and 4mm, and we have had 11mm during the day. If we hadn’t watered and we’d have had 1mm, we’d have been looking at firm ground.”
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