What the trainers say as Bolshoi Ballet bids for second $1m prize in Saratoga Derby

Derby flop Bolshoi Ballet bids for a second $1m prize in the US in Saturday’s Saratoga Derby Invitational – but the feature event at the New York venue is the Whitney, in which Knicks Go and Godolphin’s Maxfield face off against star filly Swiss Skydiver.

Trainer - Aidan O'Brien
Trainer - Aidan O'Brien Picture: Pat Healy Photography

• All quotes provided by the NYRA media team

Bolshoi Ballet heads strong European team

Saratoga: Saratoga Derby Invitational G1 $1m, turf, 3yo 1m1½f (Race 9, 10.10pm BST)

In a field full of European interest, Bolshoi Ballet (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore) bids to follow up his victory a month ago in the Belmont Derby, the opening leg of the New York 'Turf Triple', with more of the same.

Sent off a tick better than even-money favourite at Belmont, the much-touted son of Galileo won decisively enough in the end, even if it is was one for the solid-rather-than-spectacular category as he was under pressure a long way out before staying on in workmanlike fashion.

While Ryan Moore's presence is a statement of serious intent, this looks a tougher assignment. Secret Protector (Charlie Appleby/Mike Smith) brings a decent level of form for Godolphin, while Bolshoi Ballet's Irish compatriot Cadillac (Jessica Harrington/Shane Foley) regained the winning thread last time in G3 company at the Curragh. 

State Of Rest (Joseph O'Brien/John Velazquez) also travels from Ireland, while Soldier Rising (Christophe Clement/Irad Ortiz), a son of Frankel, won a couple in France for former trainer Andre Fabre. He breaks from the rail in an 11-runner field.

Shall we talk about it?

Bolshot Ballet: "It's a good opportunity for him. He's doing well and came back here in good order. Aidan and the team are very happy with him at the moment. If he runs to his last race, he should be right there again." TJ Comerford (Aidan O'Brien's travelling assistant)

King Fury: "We're really using this race as a prep for the Travers, which is something that Catholic Boy pulled off. So that will be interesting. A good horse will run on just about anything given the chance and I think he'll handle the grass just fine. He's a lovely horse so hopefully it's one step and a big one for him." Kenny McPeek

Palazzi: "He needs luck and pace, two things he didn't have in his last start. It was very frustrating because he was down on the inside with nowhere to go." Mark Casse

Secret Protector: "Trip-wise it looks really made for him. His run at Ascot was very good. I know he didn't win but from where he was in the run to how he finished was quite striking. It's going to be a tough race with Aidan's horse and a few of the others but Charlie is fairly confident if he runs the race he run at Ascot, he will take a bit of beating. He wouldn't really want it like a road but on the quicker side of things is fine," Chris Connett (Charlie Appleby's travelling assistant)

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