Vodaphone Epsom Derby 2001 report

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  • Galileo won the Vodaphone Derby in 2min 33.37secs, the second fastest time in the 222-year history of the Epsom classic. Three and a half-lengths back was the 2000 Guineas winner Golan, with last year’s top two-year-old Tobougg a neck back in third.

    Mick Kinane had settled Galileo just behind the leaders, Mr Combustible and Perfect Sunday. But, once he opened up with his great stride and stretched for home early in the straight, Kinane was thinking: “Only something with wings could come and catch him.”

    This was an outstanding Derby won by a champion who, on the day, proved himself to be a man among boys. Galileo’s turbo-charged thrust through the final quarter of a mile was the most impressive show of power since Shergar’s 10-length romp 20 years ago.

    Galileo has written his own personal piece of history by becoming the first son of Sadler’s Wells to win Derby. Being by Europe’s favourite stallion Sadler’s Wells, the sire of the era, out of Urban Sea, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Galileo is bred to do just what he has achieved – beat the best in the best possible style.

    For Kinane, Europe’s most accomplished international jockey, it was a second Epsom Derby following Commander In Chief’s win in 1993. “This was a race I could always enjoy because I was always in control. The key with Galileo is his serious pace. Once he took off I knew nothing could go with him.”

    O’Brien has now won four of the first six of this season’s classics run in England and Ireland. The Irish Derby is the immediate target for Galileo, who is now unbeaten in four starts, with the Breeder’s Cup Classic at Belmont Park in October the ultimate aim.

    For full report and pictures from the Vodaphone Epsom Derby see Horse & Hound issue dated 14 June

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