Wings Of Eagles wins the 2017 Investec Derby at Epsom

Wings Of Eagles wins the Derby
Wings Of Eagles wins the Derby

The 40/1 outsider Wings Of Eagles stunned his rivals in the 238th running of the Investec Derby at Epsom. Check out our report, reaction from connections and watch the free video replay.

4.30 Epsom - Investec Derby

1st Wings Of Eagles (40/1)
2nd Cliffs Of Moher (5/1)
3rd Cracksman (7/2 favourite)

Click here for full result and free video replay

Report


Childhood dreams turned into reality for unheralded jockey Padraig Beggy after he gained a fairytale success aboard huge outsider Wings Of Eagles in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

Having contemplated hanging up his riding boots, the 31-year-old was thankful he decided otherwise as he made his first ride in the world-famous race a winning one, getting the 40/1 chance home to give Aidan O'Brien a sixth Derby success.

There had been plenty of talk about the mighty Frankel siring his first Classic winner, and for a moment in the home straight it looked as though Cracksman was going to deliver when taking over from the eventual winner's stablemate Douglas Macarthur just over a furlong out.

Despite Frankie Dettori being more animated than he ideally would have liked to have been aboard the 7/2 favourite early on, he got the response he asked for, but he was soon joined - and passed - by his chief market rival Cliffs Of Moher under Ryan Moore.

After mastering Cracksman, Moore and O'Brien seemed poised to go one better than with Rhododendron 24 hours earlier in the Oaks, but although having only a couple of horses behind them turning in, Beggy and the son of 2011 Derby hero Pou Moi had other ideas.

Hitting his stride, the winner shot past his better-fancied stable companion inside the dying strides to defeat him by three-quarters of a length, with Cracksman a further neck away in third.

Fourth went to Martyn Meade's Eminent, with Benbatl back in fifth, rewarding their backers with online bookmakers Sky Bet who paid five places for each-way bets.

Sky Bet's Racing PR Manager Michael Shinners commented: "The open nature of this year’s Investec Derby meant we were able to pay 5 places.  

"The result was certainly not expected by punters as we laid a number of horses in the race but not Wings Of Eagles.  The places were reasonably good despite Cracksman and Cliffs Of Moher finishing second and third and this has to go down as a bookmaker friendly result."

The result also put paid to the hopes of the remaining players in the free to play £100,000 Sporting Life Pick 7 game.

Reaction


Aidan 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."

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!"

John Gosden: "I think it was a good, solid run. I think Frankie found the horse slightly immature.

"I think he just ran a little babyish and he could have done with that other run, but I didn't want to run him on that soft ground (in the Dante).

"He ran a great race, he was just a light on experience at the end but I don't think he was beaten too far.

"We knew there was going to be a lot of pace, but they (pacemakers) were rather ignored and they took a bit of catching in the end.

"He is in the Irish Derby, I would not mind going there at all, as it is a nice, galloping track." 

Martyn Meade, trainer of the fourth-placed horse Eminent, said: "I think he was just squeezed out in the closing stages, and he didn't travel too well to start with - it took him a little time early on to get into his rhythm and to get into a position as they came around the top of the hill.

"He had a lot of ground to make up, and that is his beauty really, when he came into the straight he could really use his stride. He was squeezed a little at the end and he wasn't beaten far, but he just wasn't the best on the day today.

"I'd love to run the race again now, or at least next week!

"Jim (Crowley) immediately got off him and said the Irish Derby - he certainly stays, I don't think there is any question about that. We just didn't get that bit of luck in running, it didn't really work out as we'd like today, but we are thrilled to bits with him - it is only his fourth run and we've lots of excitement to come, I hope.

"I had no worries in the preliminaries today, he's a real professional. A bit more cut in the ground would have been preferable too - the ground was perfect but for him as he'd have like a bit more cut."

Mark Johnston said of 10th-placed Permian: "Permian was disappointing, with Cracksman and Benbatl in front of us I don't think he's run his race.

"William (Buick) felt although he'd run here before he didn't handle the track, but I'd have to think about that.

"Maybe faster ground downhill didn't suit him, we'd be keen to get him back with some give in the ground."

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