Aidan O’Brien landed his sixth Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday afternoon (3 June), but not with the hotly fancied Cliffs Of Moher. Victory in the Classic race came with the surprise 40-1 outsider of the 18 runners, Wings Of Eagles, ridden by Derby debutant Padraig Beggy.
“When you’re riding for Aidan O’Brien, in colours like these, you don’t worry about the price, they always have a chance,” said the winning jockey, who produced a thrilling finish to the historic 1m4f Group 1 race. “I didn’t have much luck in running, but I probably got there at the right time in the end.”
The three-year-old son of Pour Moi — who won this race in 2011 — is owned by Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor. In a perfectly timed assault, the pair swooped wide to snatch victory from his Ballydoyle stable-mate and ante-post favourite Cliffs Of Moher, ridden by Ryan Moore.
Frankie Dettori, bidding for the big race double after his Oaks victory the day before on Enable, finished third with the John Gosden-trained favourite Cracksman.
“A furlong out, I said if I get a run I win,” said Paddy. “In fairness to this big horse, his best furlong of the race was the last. I don’t get to sit on too many beasts like this so I’m going to enjoy it.
“I’d probably nearly given up on the big day [races] but Aidan O’Brien, fair play to him, he’s made it happen. Happy days.”
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Aidan O’Brien had a grand total of six runners in the £1.623 million race.
“He [Wings Of Eagles] had a lovely run at Chester [finishing runner-up in the Chester Vase], his first run of the year,” said the Ballydoyle trainer. “Obviously we’re delighted with Cliffs Of Moher — he was just a little bit of a baby, he just got there and got a little bit tired, but his next run will be something to look forward to.
“Padraig was brilliant today, he’s a world class rider.”
Don’t miss the full report from Epsom in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out Thursday, 8 June.