O’Brien wins 6th Epsom Derby with 40-1 Wings of Eagles
Recap from Racenews
Aidan O’Brien saddled his sixth Epsom Derby winner when 40-1 shot Wings Of Eagles flew late to hold off stablemate Cliffs Of Moher by three-quarters of a length.
“We knew Wings Of Eagles was in the mix – but no more than that. He’s proved to be a very, very good horse for the future. I’m afraid I didn’t back him though – I didn’t have a bet in the race. Aidan’s done it again – it’s just incredible.” — owner Michael Tabor of his 40-1 shot
It was a first ride in the premier classic, now known as the Investec Derby, for Padraig Berry and O’Brien said: “Padraig is a brilliant rider. He is a world-class rider and always has been. He has done an awful lot of work with Donnacha and is a brilliant rider. He is strong with a great mind, tactically very aware. I can’t tell you how delighted we are to have him working with us and having him there on those big days.
“Padraig was always going to take his time and he gave the horse a brilliant ride. He had the horse nice and balanced and was in a great position coming down the hill.
“This was a nice horse last year, Colm (O’Donoghue) liked him and he ran a lovely race at the back-end in France. Then we took him to the Chester Vase, where he ran well. Seamie (Heffernan) rode him and was delighted. He had been working well since.
“You never really know going into this race. They are all bred for it and until you test them on this course over a mile and a half you don’t know how they will do – anything can happen.
“I couldn’t be happier and I am delighted with Cliffs Of Moher, who was just a little bit of a baby – he just got there and got a little bit tired, so his next run will be something to look forward to. He came with a sustained run but his lack of preparation just showed in the last 50 yards.
“The runner-up only just made it here. He needed a bit of time to get him there in spring so it was a rush to have him ready. I’d imagine Cliffs Of Moher is the one with most improvement in him. He was just a baby coming here and Ryan had to mind him. He’s one to look forward to next season.”
EAGLES SPROUTS WINGS TO LAND DERBY
Outsider Wings Of Eagles (40-1) gave trainer Aidan O’Brien a 1-2 in this afternoon’s Investec Derby at Epsom, pouncing near the line to deny stablemate and 5-1 shot Cliffs Of Moher by three quarters of a length.
The son of 2011 winner Pour Moi, who was beaten by stablemate Venice Beach (who finished 12th) in the Chester Vase last time out, was held up by jockey Padraig Beggy in the early stages as the O’Brien-trained pair of Douglas Macarthur and The Anvil set a fair pace. As the field thundered into the final furlong, it looked as if the two market leaders, 7/2 favourite Cracksman (who finished third) and Cliffs Of Moher would fight out the finish, but Beggy conjured up a withering run to ensure that Wings Of Eagles got his head in front.
Beggy was delighted after the race and revealed he always thought he had a chance of Derby glory despite Wings Of Eagles’ starting price.
“The main thing is that you are riding for Aidan O’Brien in colours like these – you don’t worry about the price because they always have a chance,” said Beggy.
“He gave me a great feel going down, he probably pulled a little hard. I was a bit unlucky in running but I probably got there at the right time in the end. They went quick. I was drawn beside Ryan (Moore – jockey on Cliffs Of Moher) so I said that would follow Ryan and let the best horse take me into the race. A furlong down I said that, if I get a run, I would win. I had seen that Ryan had gone and, in fairness to this big horse, his best furlong in the race was his last, which makes a big, big difference.
“I don’t get to sit on too many like this beast at the races. I’m going to enjoy it! I have dreamed about this big time and, to be honest, I had probably given up on the big day. Aidan O’Brien, fair play to him, has made it happen. I’ve won the Derby though! I dreamt about it when I was young but I’d nearly given it up. It doesn’t matter what the pecking order is when you’re riding for Aidan O’Brien as they’re all good horses and they all have a chance.
“I’m delighted for the horse and all the lads that look after him every day. He’s a strong colt and I’m fairly happy! It means the world to me – all my family are at home watching this. My girlfriend, family – everyone. Aidan and Ryan told me to ride him like that and I’m glad they went quick – although I don’t think they went too mad.
“I was on a good horse and he looked a million dollars – a lot of the jockeys down at the start said I was on the paddock pick. He’s a fine big colt. I knew I had a chance as Aidan always trains each horse for this race – some have form coming into the race, some improve all the time. My lad improved since his last run. It’s brilliant to win this. I can’t really describe it in words and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I’ll go down in history though – I’ve won the Derby. I’ll be remembered for something at least!”
Co-owner Michael Tabor was also delighted following the race.
“You never get tired of winning a race at the pinnacle of horse racing,” said Tabor.
“It’s just a fantastic feeling. The way I felt personally this morning was that it was a very open race and any horse could come forward, as three-year-olds do, to win and we knew Wings Of Eagles was in the mix – but no more than that. He’s proved to be a very, very good horse for the future. I’m afraid I didn’t back him though – I didn’t have a bet in the race. Aidan’s done it again – it’s just incredible. A friend of mine this morning said the bet was actually Aidan to win the race at 7-4. I didn’t take his advice though!”