O’Brien Wins Seventh Epsom Derby and Galileo is in Every Pedigree for both Derby and Oaks

Aiden O’Brien. He had seven runners in the Derby

The quiet way Aiden O’Brien saddles his horses before a race – even the really big races which matter, is a marvel to watch. He calmly saddled up his seven runners for this year’s Derby, one by one outside in the paddock, and it is thought that he saddles each horse from his least hopeful to the one who he thinks has the best chance. Whether that is true or not, no one but he knows.

The Derby

Out of the thirteen runners, the maestro of Ballydoyle had seven and there was one supplemented late, paying a massive £85,000 for the privilege  – recent Dante winner, Telecaster, trained by Hughie Morrison. Of the other five trainers with runners, 86 year Kevin Prendergast had a real live hope with Madmoon,  by Dawn Approach, Andrew Balding had Bangkok – owned by the late owner of Leicester football club Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha killed in that horrific helicopter crash in October last year. So whoever won today, it was likely to be an emotional roller coaster. The other three trainers with runners were John Gosden with outsider Humanitarian, Charlie Appleby with the Godolphin representative Line of Duty and finally John Ryan with Hiroshima. Reading the list it looked more like a geography lesson of the world rather than a Derby line up. The others with geographical name connections were both trained by O’Brian – Norway and Japan.

The preliminaries were completed without any really noticeable incident. All the runners kept pretty calm amongst the razzmatazz of the saddling up, the parade and getting the horses to the start.

All the runners started well except maybe Frankie Dettori’s mount who stumbled quite markedly on leaving the stalls – the Niarchos owned Circus Maximus. The runners set off steadily , up the massive incline for the first 5 furlongs with Sovereign and Telecaster leading the field. As the runners descended. to Tattenham Corner in a fairly orderly fashion, there were probably about 12 lengths from the leader to the last. As they came into the straight, the race started in earnest. Both the leaders were soon disposed of as a blanket of the O’Brian steeds formed across the course with the Prendergast runner, Madmoon also in  the mix. As the front six or seven runners came into the last furlong, it was anyone’s race. The winner was Anthony Van Dyck ridden by Seamie Heffernan passing the post by a short half  length with the others in the group finishing in a blanket with the judge having to look at the photograph to sort out the rest of the top five home. This was Seamie Heffernan’s first Derby win despite having  had several rides and being placed in the race on previous occasions.

86 year old trainer Kevin Prendergast’s charge Madmoon was second ridden by Chris Hayes and third was another very short head to Japan ridden Wayne Lordan. The fourth home was another Aiden trained horse, Broome, ridden by the trainer’s son  Donnacha. Out of the first six horse home, Aiden O’Brien trained five.

The Oaks. Fillies Classic

In a very open race this year, the Oaks winner was not easy to predict. There were several in with a good chance, including four from the Balydoyle stable of Aiden O’Brien from the 14 runners. John Gosden had a couple as did James Fanshaw. In an interview on the BBC , Frankie Dettori, Anapurna’s jockey explained how he spent several hours studying the form of all the runners and working the tactics each were likely to use – then spent several more hours working out his own tactics best to suit his mount. Time well spent Frankie!!

The race itself started fairly slowly, and a steady pace, with no horse keenly wanting to take the lead in the early stages. Once round Tattenham Corner, the race started in earnest with a blanket of horses vying to get through, but several were hindered which made the race a pretty rough affair. Frankie Dettori  and Ryan Moore riding Pink Dogwood broke clear and were riding head to head for the last two furlongs. It seemed for a while the Ryan Moore would win for the Coolmore barons and Aiden O’Brien but in the last few strides, Frankie was able to drive Anapurna to victory by a head.

The Conclusion of the Season so far.

With such open races for both the Derby and the Oaks and all the trials proving to be so indecisive, many think that the three year olds this year are a disappointing lot. And they may be right. The weather during the winter was pretty benign and the spring by and large has been good, so there is no excuse for backward animals which generally this year appears to be the case. It will be interesting in the coming months  to see whether any of the horses who have disappointed so far, come out and prove themselves to be champions afterall. It is also worth noting that both the Derby and Oaks were run in very similar  fashion although the Oaks ended up being a much rougher contest.

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