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G1 Investec Derby - all the news & quotes

Article 4th July 2020 Epsom Downs

By Racenews

Investec Derby (Group 1) - Quotes from winning trainer Aidan O'Brien
 
Aidan O'Brien created history today by becoming the most successful trainer in the history in the Investec Derby as Serpentine handed the master of Ballydoyle an eighth winner of the premier Classic.
 
O'Brien said: "We discuss each horse and try and give every horse the best chance in the race and we ride them all accordingly.
 
"Emmet was happy to go the front on his horse with his horse having won from the front the last day and William (Buick, third Amhran Na Bhfiann) was happy to also go forward if he was able. It was exactly the way it was. Wayne Lordan rode Serpentine the last day and he won it very impressively. He ran through to the line over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh and to do that, you have to be very good and have class and that is what he did really.
 
"We all watched the race together, Annemarie, Sarah, Ana and Donnacha. Donnacha mentioned at around five furlongs out that he thought Emmet would win here. He was very comfortable and there was no-one going to challenge him and he wasn't going to stop.
 
"Emmet gave him a brilliant ride. He judged the pace really well. He was a horse who was going to get every yard of the mile and a half.
 
"We are so delighted. We are in a very privileged position to have such unbelievable horses and such unbelievably well-bred horses. We are working with special people. It is a position very few people will ever get into. The horses have such incredible pedigrees, top and bottom. There are so many special people involved and everyone puts their heart and soul into it day in, day out. Everyone loves what they do and we really appreciate every opportunity that we get and how grateful we are to everyone for what they do. It is just very special for us to be part of such a special team of people.
 
"Every race and all those big races, it is incredibly satisfying when they do win for everybody. There are so many links in the chain from when the mare is covered and then conceived. There are so many people involved all the way up to the present time. We have so many special people here in the finishing stage. You never really expect anything, and you just hope and do your best and try to get a good result.
 
"If it is a mile and a half race, we try and have it run at a mile and a half pace and whatever. We can then go forward from that and make a plan and that is always the best outcome for everybody.
 
"All the lads are always delighted whatever we decide. Obviously, those Classics, there is only one Derby and Oaks - it is just so special to have runners in them and for the lads to be able to ride them. Everyone knows when they get an opportunity, they take it with two hands. It is unbelievable really. It is hard to believe when you think about it but we're so grateful for it really.
 
"We always thought he would stay very well. He would have no problem getting the Leger trip. He is by Galileo and from a Dylan Thomas family. I would imagine he would have no problem getting the trip if that is what the lads decide to do.
 
"He stays very well. I don't think he would have a problem with soft ground in the autumn in an Arc. This horse has a little bit of knee action and on his pedigree, he would handle slower ground in something like an Arc.
 
"I didn't really see the other horses and have not chatted to the jockeys yet. Amhrann Na Bhfiann was third and thought he would stay very well which he did do.
 
"Mogul was fifth and we felt he had progressed from Royal Ascot, but we felt he would progress more and we look forward to seeing him next time. He is a big, strong horse. We thought after two runs he would be ready and obviously the second one had to be the Derby. We look forward to him on his next run.
 
"Obviously, we would love to be there, but we are lucky to be racing. Everyone is communicating well. We had a good meeting before the racing. Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith are in Barbados along with Sue and John Magnier in Ireland. Everyone is on the call and with Zoom it is easy for us to chat. We would love to be there with you, but it is something we can't do as if I came over and then headed back to Ireland, I wouldn't be able to do anything for a couple of weeks.
 
"It's great the event has happened. A big thanks to everyone at Epsom. It's marvellous that is has happened and we would love to be there, but it just wasn't to be this year."
 
Serpentine
 
 
More from Paul Smith
 
Paul Smith, son of part-owner Derrick Smith, said: "We always knew Serpentine would stay, and that he would bowl along in front, and if they came to catch him he wouldn't fall into a hole - we knew that. He quickened away well and put it to bed quite nicely, didn't he?
 
"Going round Tattenham Corner, I thought it would take a very good horse to peg him back.
 
"It's incredible [that Aidan O'Brien has now recorded eight Investec Derby wins]. Aidan really is a genius - it's a word that has been used before, but we know he is. He gets his horses so right and works with the pedigrees so well. He has got a great team around him, and I was delighted for Emmet, because he is part of the team and he got chinned in the Irish Derby just a week or so ago and is an integral part of the team. Aidan is just so, so good at getting these horses ready for big races.
 
"They have done a great job here at Epsom. We really didn't know what to expect, but they have really done an excellent job. I am so pleased for everyone that it was a great day, win, lose or draw."
 
Investec Derby - winning quotes from Emmet McNamara and Paul Smith
 
Jockey - Emmet McNamara, 30 years old: "I think I got a little bit of a freebie! I had a huge amount of confidence in the horse having spoken to Aidan during the week. He filled me with confidence and said that he is a horse that is going to stay a mile and six furlongs for you well. He said jump, go your own tempo, from halfway after you give him a breather from the six to the five, you keep building to that winning post, he will keep going. God, he was right!
 
"I couldn't hear a thing, I could just hear the horse breathing, he was in a good rhythm, he was relaxed. I couldn't hear a thing around me, I didn't want to be looking, I wasn't aware of it, I knew I was a few clear alright.
 
"It's a bit surreal really, can't believe it. I hope Eric McNamara (father) is OK at home and hasn't died of a heart attack or anything!
 
"It is unbelievable, a huge amount of thanks and gratitude to Aidan O'Brien and all his family - I have spent a fantastic six years there - and to all the owners who have shown a bit of faith in me today. I really appreciate it."
 
Emmet McNamara
 
Paul Smith, son of Derrick Smith who owns winner along with Sue Magnier and Michael Tabor: "Incredible isn't it? Those Galileos - they never know when to lie down! Absolutely incredible. 
 
"I am so pleased for Emmet McNamara, he is a big part of the team back at Ballydoyle. He got chinned in the Irish Derby a week or so back, he works so hard for us, no disrespect to the other jockeys, but I am delighted for him.
 
"When you have Galileo and you have Aidan, anything is possible! It really is! Aidan knew he would stay well, we knew that, they let him go and he just ran for fun.
 
"It was an Incredible race to watch, I was very, very hopeful because I knew he would get home, I really did. Once they let him alone, I thought this is going to be interesting.
 
"Love was classy too, I am just so pleased for the team and Emmet is such a team player.
 
"[Galileo] He is the holy one! He is the one that they are going to be following for many, many years and long may it last."
 
Serpentine
 
More from winning jockey Emmet McNamara
 
Emmet McNamara, who made all the running to win the Investec Derby at his first attempt on Serpentine, said at the press conference following his famous victory: "No, I didn't expect to be sitting here.
 
"The only thing I would say in that regard is that Aidan O'Brien filled me with a huge amount of confidence, so it's not a complete surprise. He said that if things worked out well, he was one horse who could win the Derby. He instilled that into me and I actually did believe him, because when that man tells you something about a horse, if he tells you that the sky is green, you'd believe him.
 
"I thought I was after getting quite an easy lead; I couldn't hear a thing all the way through the race. I never looked behind me, but I couldn't here a thing behind me. All I could hear was the horse breathing, and he was in a nice rhythm and I knew I wasn't after going a million miles an hour, so I was imagining they were ignoring me a small bit and I was just hoping that the clock in my own head was working a little bit, because I thought I had saved enough in the first half of the race going up the hill, I didn't think I had gone mad, I thought I had enough to get home and thankfully I did. He is a horse that stays very well and Aidan said that to me this morning, 'he's a horse that stays a mile and six for you, so be positive whatever you do'.
 
"That's what makes it feel even more surreal - the empty stands, didn't hear a horse - I feel like I'm going to wake up after just riding a bit of work or something, to be honest with you, it's a bit unbelievable.
 
"I have ridden the horse in a few bits of work, but the girl who led him up, does a fantastic job with him riding out, and Aidan O'Brien is happy enough to leave the people who are doing a fantastic job on them, on them, so the likes of Seamus [Heffernan], Ryan [Moore] and myself just get to sit on them sometimes in work, and then obviously on racedays as well. There is a background team of staff there who are extremely capable riders and do a fantastic job."
 
Asked if it was correct that he hadn't ridden a winner since October last year, he laughed and said: "I've been saving myself! Things are very tough in Ireland in terms of getting rides, and I am at Aidan's every morning of the week so I am not going here, there and everywhere to ride out. I am not the lightest guy in the world, but thankfully Aidan knows I am riding out every day and I am fit as a fiddle, or I like to think I am, so when a race like this pops up and he has got a few extra runners in it, thankfully he seems to give me a couple of spins, and I am extremely grateful to both him and the owners for showing their faith in me, having not been riding on a consistent basis.
 
"I would take 14 months quarantine for this! I am sure I'll be OK. Maybe I will watch replays!
 
"We've got the French Derby tomorrow, so there's another big day tomorrow hopefully. Seamus and I are flying out this evening and I am looking forward to riding in three Derbys in a week - it's crazy stuff, but I'm just delighted to be a part of it.
 
"When you are born in racing and you are coming up, you are always dreaming of these races and you think that they are possible, but it's only when you actually start riding against these guys, different professionals, that you realise just how hard it is to win the likes of these races, and whatever ability you have, if you don't get on the horses, you've absolutely no chance. I was lucky I got on the horse - there are a thousand other lads in that weighing room that are far more talented than me, but they didn't ride Serpentine in the Derby today. I am very lucky to get on him.
 
"I was impressed by Serpentine's performance in his last race [he won a maiden at the Curragh on June 27] and Wayne [Lordan] went a good gallop on him all the way. He clocked a time that was four seconds quicker than the Group Three on the card, so it was a good performance. One of my mates, Gary Carroll, had pulled up at the winning line at the racecourse that day and said he ran out to the winning line and nearly out to the board - he said he was an extremely impressive winner of a maiden having gone a good gallop, so while I'm obviously surprised to win the Derby, it wasn't a huge, huge surprise.
 
"I hope my poor old Dad (Eric, a trainer) isn't after dying of a heart attack! He was extremely proud of me riding in the race today, having spoken to him about 40 times in the past 24 hours - he was on the phone about this that and the other. He was obviously delighted I was taking part in it, and I am sure he and Mum are even more proud of me now. I am sure all my family are roaring the house down."
 
Asked whether he thought his chance of winning a Derby had gone when he finished second in the Irish Derby last weekend, he replied: "Luckily when you are in Aidan's, you have the chance of getting on this type of horse at different stages through the years that you are there, so I didn't think when I pulled up the other day, 'that's it, gone forever', but there is a sense of, this is a funny year where we're running horses that we're not 100% sure where we stand with them, whereas by this time of year normally they might be a bit better sorted out and I might be on a slightly lesser one that isn't as unexposed as this one coming here today. I thought myself a couple of weeks ago that this could possibly be a big year, just with the way things worked out, and that is the way it is after working out - second in an Irish Derby and to win an English is unbelievable. I can't imagine it will ever happen again, so I'm going to try to savour it while I can.
 
"Aidan said, down to the halfway you can go a nice, even tempo, but make sure from the six to the five to get a little breather into him, so I just sat, sat, sat, six down to the five, and from there let him fill himself up and let him slide along there. From the five I was stepping up on it a little bit all the way to the line. It's a difficult camber for an inexperienced horse like that and I probably should have switched my stick into my left hand, but I had visions of ending up in the grandstand if I did that, so I was probably a bit hard on it with my right hand, try to keep him straight, and he just got a little bit unbalanced. It was my fault - I should have helped the horse a little bit more, given that he's a balanced horse, by Galileo out of an Oaks second (Remember When), he's bred in the purple and he ran all the way to the line. He could run in the Leger! He's classy.
 
"I couldn't care less if there was no one here, to be honest!"
 
Serpentine
The 241st Investec Derby (Group 1)
4.55pm, Epsom Downs, Saturday, 4 July, 2020. 1m 4f 6y. £500,000 Total Prize Fund. 
 
1 (12) Serpentine (IRE) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Emmet McNamara* 25/1
 
2 (14) Khalifa Sat (IRE) (Ahmad Al Shaikh) Andrew Balding 3-9-00 Tom Marquand* 50/1
 
3 (5) Amhran Na Bhfiann (IRE) (Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 William Buick 66/1
 
4 (11) Kameko (USA) (Qatar Racing Limited) Andrew Balding 3-9-00 Oisin Murphy 5/2 Fav
 
5 (1) English King (FR) (Bjorn Nielsen) Ed Walker 3-9-00 Frankie Dettori 100/30
 
6 (2) Mogul (Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Sue Magnier) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Ryan Moore 7/1
 
7 (6) Russian Emperor (IRE) (Laurie Macri/Sue Magnier et al) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Seamie Heffernan 6/1
 
8 (8) Vatican City (IRE) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 Padraig Beggy 17/2
 
9 (16) Gold Maze (The Long Wait Partnership) Jessica Harrington IRE 3-9-00 David Egan* 150/1
 
10 (13) Highland Chief (IRE) (Fitri Hay) Paul & Oliver Cole 3-9-00 Ben Curtis* 20/1
 
11 (3) Pyledriver (K & W Bloodstock Limited & Roger Devlin) William Muir 3-9-00 Martin Dwyer 16/1
 
12 (15) Mohican Heights (IRE) (Sun Bloodstock SARL) David Simcock 3-9-00 Andrea Atzeni 25/1
 
13 (10) Mythical (FR) (Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith) Aidan O'Brien IRE 3-9-00 James Doyle 100/1
 
14 (7) Max Vega (IRE) (The Pickford Hill Partnership) Ralph Beckett 3-9-00 Harry Bentley* 33/1
 
15 (4) Emissary (Khalid Abdullah) Hugo Palmer 3-9-00 Jim Crowley 40/1
 
16 (9) Worthily (USA) (George Strawbridge) John Gosden 3-9-00 Martin Harley* 40/1
 
* = first time jockey
 
Breeding: ch c Galileo (IRE) - Remember When (IRE) (Danehill Dancer)
Breeder: Coolmore
 
16 ran
Time: 2m 34.43s
Distances: 5½, ½, nose, nk, ¾, 1¼, ½, 2¼, 2¾, ½, ½, ½, nk, 2¼, 75
Tote Win: £32.50 Places: £6.50, £15.00, £14.20 Exacta: £1,643.90
 
4th Investec Derby winner from 36 runners in owner Sue Magnier's colours- Galileo (2001), Ruler Of The World (2013), Anthony Van Dyck (2016), Serpentine (2020)
 
RECORD EIGHTH Investec Derby success for trainer Aidan O'Brien from 91 runners - 2001 Galileo, 2002 High Chapparal, 2012 Camelot, 2013 Ruler Of The World, 2014 Australia, 2017 Wings Of Eagles, 2019 Anthony Van Dyck, 2020 Serpentine
 
Emmet McNamara was one of seven first-time jockeys today. He becomes the third first first-time jockey to win the third first-time jockey to win the Investec Derby this century following Mickael Barzalona and Padraig Beggy.
 
Galileo is now the most successful Investec Derby sire of all time with five winners. His other scorers are New Approach (2008), Ruler Of The World (2013), Australia (2014) & Anthony Van Dyck (2019).
 
Investec Derby (Group 1) - beaten connections
 
Beaten trainers
 
Andrew Balding, trainer of Khalifa Sat (2nd, 50/1) and Kameko (4th, 5/2 Fav): "It was a funny race but Khalifa Sat ran great, I am thrilled with him. And Kameko ran well to a point - Oisin [Murphy] just felt he emptied out a little bit late on. Two lovely horses and fair play, they both ran great. We have always liked Khalifa Sat, he is a lovely type."
 
Ed Walker, trainer of fifth English King (100/30): "The way the race panned out was frustrating, purely and simply.
 
"I am thrilled with everything - proud as punch of the horse, Frankie did well from a difficult draw. I have got no excuses, just a frustrating race. A Derby with no pace - there is no such thing these days, really - and we needed pace. But I am proud of the horse, he has run great. My first Derby experience; he has hit the line hard, another 50 yards and he might have been second."
 
Beaten jockeys
 
Tom Marquand on Khalifa Sat (second): "We are really pleased with that for a run. Obviously, the leader sort of skipped away early and had that little bit more toe than us. This lad is honest as the day is long and I am looking forward to seeing him over further."
 
William Buick on Amhran Na Bhfiann (third) "Why is it so quiet round here!? He ran a great race."
 
Oisin Murphy on Kameko (fourth): "I am thrilled for Emmet McNamara. He has been part of Ballydoyle for a number of years and is a top-class jockey. The winner got a very enterprising ride. I wasn't making any ground late, if anything I was stopping."
 
Frankie Dettori on English King (fifth): "I had a good trip. Between the three and one furlong, he couldn't pick up and then he was doing all he did best work at the end. He was just inexperienced."
 
Seamie Heffernan on Russian Emperor (seventh): "He ran well, but the winner was just too far in front."
 
Padraig Beggy on Vatican City (eighth): "My lad will improve from that. It was only his fourth run. He is one for another day."
 
Ben Curtis on Highland Chief (10th): "He got a little bit lost early. Once he got travelling, I was too far back. He picked up well, but a more conventional track would suit him better."
 
Martin Dwyer on Pyledriver (11th): "I had a nice pitch behind Ryan and then I got hampered when we crossed back and that was my race over. I couldn't get into it from there."
 
Andrea Atzeni on Mohican Heights (12th): "He slipped coming out of the stalls. I just gave him a chance, he probably lacks experience, but will be a nice horse in time."
 
James Doyle on Mythical (13th): "I was a spectator."
 
Harry Bentley on Max Vega (14th): "I had a good position, I travelled OK but as the tempo increased down the hill, I couldn't go with them."

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