Ryan Moore has high hopes for Classic challenger Santa Barbara

As Santa Barbara continues to be all the rage in the Qipco 1000 Guineas market, Ryan Moore is hoping the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly “has a big year ahead of her”.

The Camelot filly was seen only once last season, winning a maiden at the Curragh in September, but her odds for the Newmarket Classic have been in freefall ever since O’Brien spoke about her in glowing terms in a stable tour.

Speaking on Betfair’s Racing Only Bettor Podcast, Moore said: “She was impressive at the Curragh under Seamie (Heffernan), and I think there’s plenty of horses started to come out of it. She obviously got an awful lot to prove on the track, but everyone’s very happy with her at home. Let’s hope that she’s as good as we think she is.

“I had a sit on her and I’m very happy with her – she seems very straightforward in the mornings, hopefully she’s got a big year ahead of her and we want her right until the end. She’ll maybe have to start in the deep end, but hopefully she’ll prove herself up to it.”

Moore is likely to have a difficult choice to make in the colts’ equivalent, where Dewhurst one-two St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley could be joined by Royal Ascot winner Battleground.

Moore said: “St Mark’s Basilica is a horse with a lot of speed and he had some tough tasks, he had to go straight into a Group One on his second start and it was a messy sort of year for everyone.

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St Mark’s Basilica (centre) winning the Dewhurst from Wembley
St Mark’s Basilica (centre) winning the Dewhurst from Wembley (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“But when you are trying to get two-year-olds into Group One races quickly, obviously it’s not easy. The build-up wasn’t ideal and he got better with every race and he’s a Dewhurst winner and he’s a very, very good colt who seems to be in a good place and hopefully he has a big year ahead of him.

“Everything points to him being a better three-year-old.”

As well as being second to St Mark’s Basilica at Newmarket, Wembley occupied the same spot in the National Stakes at the Curragh.

Moore said: “He’s a Galileo, you’d be pretty sure he’ll get better as he gets older and going up to a mile won’t be any problem for him at all. He only won the one race, but as we’ve said already, it was difficult for two-year-olds last year.

“He has a very high level of form and ability.”

Battleground showed enormous promise in his juvenile campaign
Battleground showed enormous promise in his juvenile campaign (Hugh Routledge/PA)

The beautifully-bred Battleground followed up his Chesham Stakes win with victory at Glorious Goodwood and lost little in defeat when second to Fire At Will in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland in November.

Moore said: “He’s a very strong horse and I think he’s a very talented horse, very similar to his dam (Found) – great attitude and very high class. He’s been lovely all through the spring and I think he’ll have a good year, no doubt.”

When asked about a possible Guineas bid, Moore said: “I haven’t heard that he’s not going to the Guineas, I think he’s definitely still in the mix.”

Moore also has every chance of Derby glory this year, with High Definition and Bolshoi Ballet one and two in the ante-post market for the Cazoo-sponsored Epsom Classic.

High Definition heads the Derby market
High Definition heads the Derby market (PA)

The rider said of the unbeaten High Definition: “When he won the Beresford, it never looked likely until the last 100 yards and then he won well at the line. He looks like a very obvious Derby horse and I think the plan is to have a run in one of the major trials and then go straight to Epsom.

“So all being well, the Derby is the dream for him.”

He added of Ballysax winner Bolshoi Ballet: “He is a good-moving colt, lovely mind, does everything right. It might not have been the deepest race on the day, but he did what he was asked to do and I think there is more to come from him. I think you’ll see him popping up in the major three-year-old staying races this year.”

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