The Aidan O’Brien-trained Mendelssohn was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the nine-furlong Group 2 UAE Derby at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night under Ryan Moore.
The Ballydoyle handler has confirmed that the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner will now be aimed at this year’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in May.
From the break, jockey Ryan Moore sought the lead on the son of Scat Daddy and moved his horse to the front early doors. From there onwards, Mendelssohn controlled the race and upped the pace at will when asked by his rider.
As each of his rivals came under pressure, the Irish horse galloped on remorselessly to set a new course record, finishing 18 lengths clear of Rayya in second.
An impressed Aidan O’Brien stated:
“Ryan was happy he had a good draw and if he broke well he was happy to let him travel in front, he gave him a great ride – we couldn’t be happier. He came forward lovely from his first run and that was good experience for him on that surface first time.”
Commenting on the style of Mendelssohn’s impressive victory O’Brien added:
“I’m over the moon and it was the way he did it, going forward from the start and doing it the hard way. He galloped out and saw every yard of the distance. We knew it was very important how he handled the dirt, but he loved the surface.”
The colt’s rider Ryan Moore was equally impressed with the horse:
“He’s a very fast horse. He could have led a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf if I’d wanted to. It’s the first time he’s been in front today and he’s still a horse that’s learning, so he was still a bit green in places. It was his first run on dirt, so that was huge for him, and it was his first time at this trip, so that was another question mark. He’s a high-quality horse who has got better with every start.”
When asked about a possible challenge for the ‘Run for the Roses’ in Kentucky on 5th May, Moore added:
“Obviously the next time it’s going to be a far tougher question, there’s no doubt about that, but we’re very happy with what he’s done and I still feel he will get better. He’s got the pedigree and the looks to go with the form that he’s producing, so he’s a very exciting horse.”