Wings Of Eagles Flies Home Late, Springs 40-1 Upset In Investec Derby

by | 06.03.2017 | 1:29pm
Wings Of Eagles lands the Derby over Cliffs Of Moher (dark blue) and Cracksman (rail)

Wings Of Eagles sprang a huge 40-1 upset in the Group 1 Investec Derby at Epsom to propel jockey Padraig Beggy into the limelight.

With only two behind him with three furlongs to run, the son of 2011 Derby winner Pour Moi came from the clouds to collar his Aidan O'Brien-trained stablemate Cliffs Of Moher and Ryan Moore in the dying strides.

Cliffs Of Moher just got the better of the two Frankel colts, Cracksman (Frankie Dettori) and Eminent (Jim Crowley), inside the final furlong.

Wings Of Eagles, the apparent Ballydoyle fifth string, provided O'Brien with a sixth Derby winner.

Beggy, having his first ride in the race, said: “That's my first ride, but when you're riding one for Aidan you don't worry about the price, they always have a chance.

“I had a bit of bad luck in running but probably got there at the right time in the end.”

To say riding the Investec Derby winner might be considered a career high point might be a bit of an understatement. Beggy, who primarily rides work for O'Brien at Ballydoyle, had previously just ridden four winners since 2015.

Through the early stages of the race, two of O'Brien's runners, The Anvil (Ana O'Brien)  and Douglas Macarthur (Colm O'Donoghue), set a swift pace, and opened up about eight lengths on the rest of the field.

Cracksman – the 7-2 favorite – tracked them from third throughout much of the race, while Cliffs Of Moher and Wings Of Eagles raced toward the rear of the field.

Entering the home straight, The Anvil began to fade, but Douglas Macarthur still had plenty of run left, and it appeared he might steal the victory. Dettori was finally able to get Cracksman into gear and the pair began reeling in Douglas Macarthur, as Eminent and Cliffs Of Moher began to close in swiftly.

Cracksman put away Douglas Macarthur and was then joined by Cliffs Of Moher, and the pair battled each other through the final furlong. Just when Cliffs Of Moher looked to have the race in the bag, Wings Of Eagles, who was second to stablemate Venice Beach in the Chester Vase, swept past on the far outside to win by three-quarters of a length. Cracksman was another neck back in third.

Beggy added: “A furlong down I thought if I get a run I'd win, I knew Ryan had gone, but in fairness to the big horse his best furlong is his last, which makes a big difference. I don't get to sit on many beasts like this at the races, so I'm going to enjoy it.

“I'd nearly given up on the big days, but Aidan O'Brien has made it happen. It's happy days.”

O'Brien said: “His lad at home was delighted with him. We thought he was a very nice horse last year, he ran a lovely race at the back-end in France and then ran a lovely race at Chester.

“I couldn't be happier, and obviously I'm delighted with Cliffs Of Moher but he's a bit of a baby and his next run will be something to look forward to.

“Paddy is a world-class rider, he has a great mind and is always very aware – I'm delighted for him, I can't tell you how delighted we are to have him working with us.”

O'Brien went on: “Ryan's horse got there and just got tired, but Padraig gave the winner a great ride. He had him in a lovely rhythm, nice and balanced.

“Seamus (Heffernan) rode him in the Vase and he ran a really good race, he's been working well since then.

“We were worried Cliffs Of Moher just came to hand late, it was a rush to get him to Chester, we had to have a run, if he hadn't he wouldn't have been here.

“It's possible the first two could go to the Irish Derby if the lads want to. I'd imagine Cliffs Of Moher is open to the most improvement, Ryan just felt the last half a furlong was a bit much today but he's only a baby.”

Trainer John Gosden said of Cracksman: “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 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.”

Wings Of Eagles was bred in France by Gillles and Aliette Forien, and was purchased by his connections at the 2015 Arqana August Yearling sale. His sire, Pour Moi, stands at Coolmore's National Hunt division. He is the second G1 winner for his sire, whose first crop are 4-year-olds.

Wings Of Eagles is out of the mare Ysoldina, a winning daughter of Kendor that finished third in the 2005 G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. Ysoldina is a half sister to champions Whortleberry and Appel Au Maitre.

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