All hail Aiden, King of Epsom
Gary McKenzie on a Derby that’s going to be hard to forget
The Derby is always memorable. And this year’s renewal will be hard to forget. The winner was a five lengths victor yet he may have to win the King George or the St Leger to get his due credit.
Serpentine’s jockey, Emmet McNamara, gave his mount plenty of chance to get a breather which enabled him to stay clear of the chasing pack in the final furlongs.
The odds of the winner had many calling it a farce and I must admit to thinking it strange that the winner was allowed to go so far ahead. The fact is this son of Galileo is a real galloper who got every yard of the Derby trip.
Had the more fancied horses tried to get to him earlier they may have struggled to get home.
It was Aiden O’Brien’s eighth Derby win which makes him the winningmost (is that even a word?) trainer in the race. He also had the third, and five of his six runners were in the first eight.
A word on Andrew Balding. He trained both the second and the fourth at Epsom. That’s over £130,000 in prize money.
Back to O’Brien and his Derby wins. He has used seven different jockeys for the eight victories with only Joseph O’Brien winning twice for the master trainer.
O’Brien had already won the Oaks on Derby Day (in fact, as I predicted, he had the 1-2) and there was no petty quibbling about this result. In my preview I said of Love that “if there is a superstar in this race, I think it could be her.”
She was a brilliant winner and I think there is more to come. She will get weight from all her rivals in races like the King George or the Arc should she be targeted at these races. Plus, she had the pace to win a Guineas so dropping back to ten furlongs shouldn’t be a problem.
The O’Brien family hadn’t finished for the weekend. Aiden’s son Donnacha, just twenty-one years old, trained Fancy Blue to win the Prix de Diane leading home an Irish 1-2-3. Oh, and I should mention that she was tipped here last week. Ok so she was my only winner of the weekend.
The first four were separated by half a length so that usually means the form need close inspection but all four fillies look decent at worse and I still think Alpine Star is high class.
Mishriff won the Prix du Jockey Club for John Gosden and he does look like a horse that could go on again possibly over further. The Arc has already been mentioned.
Ghaiyyath has done me again. He was always in control in the Eclipse and Enable could not get to him. He has now won three on the spin at Group One level and ten furlongs looks tailor made for him.
Enable was having her first run since her Arc second and this is the first time she has lost two races in succession. She will come on for this but at the age of six will she get any better? She is still top class but she may need to run close to career best every time she leaves the stalls.
Japan disappointed. I know the Arc is the ultimate target but I was hoping for better on his second outing of the season. I would have expected him to improve a few pounds from three to four but so far he is just running to last years level.