Galileo to Serpentine – eight Derby heroes for Aidan O’Brien

Horse Racing

Ballydoyle trainer stands alone in Epsom history.

Serpentine’s shock Investec Derby win saw Aidan O’Brien surpass the great Fred Darling to become the most successful trainer in the history of the mile-and-a-half Epsom Classic. Here, PA takes a look at his awesome eight Epsom heroes:

Galileo, 2001 (Michael Kinane)

Quite literally the daddy - Galileo won the Derby and has sired five winners of the race
Quite literally the daddy – Galileo won the Derby and has sired five winners of the race (Martyn Hayhow/PA)

Galileo was magnificent in beating a high-class field by three and a half lengths, the widest margin since Commander In Chief had prevailed by the same distance in 1993. He followed up in the Irish Derby and won the King George, before going on to be a stallion of huge significance – with Serpentine his fifth son to win the Derby

High Chaparral, 2002 (Johnny Murtagh)

High Chaparral (right) was too good for Hawk
High Chaparral (right) was too good for Hawk Wing (Martyn Hayhow/PA)

O’Brien had three runners, but it was High Chaparral who stormed to victory to beat stablemate and favourite Hawk Wing by two lengths. The pair had the final
two furlongs to themselves and pulled a huge distance away from the rest. Another to do the English-Irish Derby double, the son of Sadler’s Wells also won the first of his two Breeders’ Cup Turfs that year.

Camelot, 2012 (Joseph O’Brien)

Camelot and Joseph O'Brien triumphed at Epsom
Camelot and Joseph O’Brien triumphed at Epsom (Nigel French/PA)

Camelot headed to Epsom on the back of victory in the 2000 Guineas and was given a fine ride by Joseph O’Brien, who held his mount up through the early
exchanges before making smooth progress to lead a furlong out and put matters to bed from there. History was made, as Aidan and the then 19-year-old Joseph became the first father-son/trainer-jockey combination to win the race. Irish Derby glory would also follow, and Camelot was agonisingly denied the Triple Crown when beaten three-quarters of a length by Encke in the St Leger at Doncaster.

Ruler Of The World, 2013 (Ryan Moore)

Ruler Of The World was a 7-1 scorer for the O'Brien team
Ruler Of The World was a 7-1 scorer for the O’Brien team (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Unraced as a two-year-old, Ruler Of The World won his maiden at the Curragh and was impressive in the Chester Vase to book his Epsom ticket. Powering clear from a furlong out, he ran on strongly to beat Dante winner Libertarian by a length and a half. Beaten at odds-on in the Irish Derby, his only subsequent success came in the Prix Foy at Longchamp as a four-year-old.

Australia, 2014 (Joseph O’Brien)

By Galileo and out of Oaks winner Ouija Board, Australia was bred for Epsom glory
By Galileo and out of Oaks winner Ouija Board, Australia was bred for Epsom glory (David Davies/PA)

O’Brien became the first to train three consecutive Derby winners when Australia went a couple of places better than his third place in the Guineas, holding off Kingston Hill to win by a length and a quarter. The Irish Derby and Juddmonte International also came his way, but he did not run again after being beaten by The Grey Gatsby when long odds-on for the Irish Champion Stakes.

Wings Of Eagles, 2017 (Padraig Beggy)

Wings Of Eagles was another big-priced Derby winner for O'Brien
Wings Of Eagles was another big-priced Derby winner for O’Brien (John Walton/PA)

The unheralded Padraig Beggy had his moment in the sun as Wings Of Eagles produced a 40-1 shock, becoming the longest-priced winner since Snow Knight triumphed at 50-1 in 1974. A son of Andre Fabre-trained Derby winner Pour Moi, Wings Of Eagles did not run again after finishing third to Capri and Cracksman at the Curragh. In a momentous year for the stable, O’Brien would set a world record in training 26 Group/Grade One winners – bettering the mark set by the late Bobby Frankel.

Anthony Van Dyck, 2019 (Seamie Heffernan)

Anthony Van Dyck got the best of a blanket finish last year
Anthony Van Dyck got the best of a blanket finish last year (Simon Cooper/PA)

After having to settle for second twice in his previous 11 rides, it was Seamie Heffernan’s turn to taste Derby delight as Anthony Van Dyck surged up the rail
to snatch the blue riband. Third choice in the Ballydoyle battalion on the betting, the son of Galileo was half a length too good for Madhmoon at the line. O’Brien’s runners also filled third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, with only Norway and the pace-setting Sovereign failing to take a hand in the finish.

Serpentine, 2020 (Emmet McNamara)

Serpentine comes home clear at Epsom
Serpentine comes home clear at Epsom (Edward Whitaker)

Part of a six-strong challenge from Ballydoyle, Serpentine made every yard of the running at 25-1 to give Emmet McNamara a career-defining moment. Clear at the top of the straight, Serpentine did not falter in the closing stages to triumph over two other outsiders by five and a half lengths, ensuring O’Brien’s place in the history books.

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