Moore's choice Reel has Derby odds cut
Aidan O'Brien's Highland Reel was the big mover in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby market after the Prix du Jockey Club runner-up emerged as Ryan Moore's chosen mount in tomorrow's Curragh Classic.
Jim Bolger's Pleascach, which also has Sunday's Pretty Polly Stakes as an option, was the only new scratching from the 150th edition of the famous €1.25m event, leaving eight runners.
Pleascach sports Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin blue, as does the odds-on favourite for the 12-furlong contest, the John Gosden-trained Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs. As expected, William Buick retains the ride on Jack Hobbs, a top-priced 4/5 shot with bookmaker Paddy Power.
However, there had been much debate over whether Moore would place greater value on Highland Reel's staying-on second to New Bay over 10 furlongs in what is traditionally referred to as the French Derby at Chantilly, or that of Giovanni Canaletto's Epsom fourth behind Golden Horn.
That question was answered before lunch yesterday, with Moore pencilled in to replace the trainer's son Joseph on Highland Reel, having eschewed him in favour of Cape Clear Island in France. It is a straight swap, with O'Brien now taking over on Moore's Derby mount, Giovanni Canaletto.
The Ballydoyle musical chairs are completed by Seamie Heffernan's replacing of O'Brien aboard the Derby sixth Kilimanjaro, with the Oaks heroine Qualify the only one of the four horses charged with securing an incredible 12th Irish Derby triumph for the champion trainer that won't have a new jockey.
Colm O'Donoghue, who maintained his 2015 100pc record for his boss on either side of the Irish Sea when winning on Outstanding at Naas on Thursday, keeps the ride on the daughter of Fastnet Rock that denied Legatissimo a Classic double in dramatic style at Epsom.
Qualify is a steady 12/1 shot to become just the fourth filly since 1900 to win the country's premier three-year-olds' Group One, while Highland Reel has now plummeted to as low as 4/1.
The Galileo colt had been available at 8/1 on Tuesday, but the manner in which his odds then tightened to 6/1 indicated that he would be the horse upon which Moore would strive to win the race for a first time, so the booking wasn't entirely unexpected.
There had also been some money for Giovanni Canaletto, but he remains easy to back at 8/1, as is William Haggas' Epsom third Storm The Stars, which will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave.
Dermot Weld relies on the unbeaten Radanpour (Pat Smullen, 20/1), while Pat Shanahan's 150/1 shot Carbon Dating - eighth at Epsom - complete the field under Ronan Whelan.
Conditions at headquarters should be ideal, with the ground being watered to maintain going that is described as good to firm.