Wings of Eagles Springs a Shock In the Derby

5th at EPS, Gr. Stk, £1,625,000G1 Investec Derby (12f 6y)Winner: Wings of Eagles (Fr), c, 3 by Pour Moi (Ire)


As the only member of the Ballydoyle six not by Galileo, Wings of Eagles (Fr) (Pour Moi {Ire}) was under the radar at 40-1 for Saturday's G1 Investec Derby but in the same manner as his sire in 2011 came over the top of them all late on to silence the Epsom crowds and provide Padraig Beggy with a day of days. Runner-up in the G3 Chester Vase when an eye-catcher last time May 11, Derrick Smith's bay who sported the pink cap swooped from rear to overhaul Cliffs of Moher (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the final yards and win by 3/4 of a length, with a neck back to the 7-2 favourite Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) in third. “When they are trained by Aidan O'Brien, you don't worry about their price as they always have a chance,” commented Beggy, riding in his first Derby. “He gave me a great feel going down and they went quick, so I followed Ryan [Moore] on the best horse in the race and let him take me into it. I had a bit of bad luck in running, but a furlong down I thought I'd win if I got a run and probably got there at the right time. He won a little snug in the end. Just to even ride for Aidan is a privilege and he has made it happen for me.”

Saturday, Epsom, Britain
INVESTEC DERBY-G1, £1,625,000, EPS, 6-3, 3yo, 12f 6yT, 2:33.02, gd.
1–#@&WINGS OF EAGLES (FR), 126, c, 3, by Pour Moi (Ire)
1st Dam: Ysoldina (Fr) (G1SP-Fr, $174,441), by Kendor (Fr)
2nd Dam: Rotina (Fr), by Crystal Glitters
3rd Dam: Rudolfina (Ire), by Pharly (Fr)
(€220,000 Ylg '15 ARAUG). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Gilles & Aliette Forien (FR); T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Padraig Beggy. £921,538. Lifetime Record: 6-2-1-0, $1,222,567. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Cliffs of Moher (Ire), 126, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Wave (Ire), by Dansili (GB). O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Markus Jooste; B-Wave Syndicate (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien. £349,375.
3–Cracksman (GB), 126, c, 3, Frankel (GB)–Rhadegunda (GB), by Pivotal (GB). O-A E Oppenheimer; B-Hascombe & Valiant Studs (GB); T-John Gosden. £174,850.
Margins: 3/4, NK, 3/4. Odds: 40.00, 5.00, 3.50.
Also Ran: Eminent (Ire), Benbatl (GB), Capri (Ire), Douglas Macarthur (Ire), Best Solution (Ire), Glencadam Glory (GB), Permian (Ire), Dubai Thunder (GB), Venice Beach (Ire), Salouen (Ire), Khalidi (GB), Crowned Eagle (GB), Rekindling (GB), The Anvil (Ire), Pealer (Ger). Scratched: Diore Lia (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Wings of Eagles made an inauspicious start to his career when seventh in a seven-furlong maiden at the Galway festival in July, missing the break before being hampered at a track at which experience is vital. Learning from that outing, he opened his account at Killarney over an extended mile in August before tackling the 10-furlong Listed Zetland S. at Newmarket in early October. Green and again meeting trouble in running there, he was fourth behind TDN Rising Star Coronet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Permian (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) before being sent to the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud three weeks later and running ninth. Partnered by Seamie Heffernan in the Chester Vase, he offered a portent of what was to come when finishing with a flourish to run second to Venice Beach (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) there and despite escaping scrutiny in the lead-up to this Classic was nevertheless in the line-up on merit.

Anchored by Padraig Beggy exiting the stalls, Wings of Eagles had one behind as he sat on the tail of stablemate Cliffs of Moher who had looked close to boiling over in the preliminaries. Up ahead, it was Douglas Macarthur (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) who was asked to set a demanding pace with The Anvil (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) close behind and they soon had a stretch of daylight back to the main field. Soon after straightening, the notably green Cracksman who had pursued the tempo in fourth early went forward under Frankie Dettori's urgings and his move was monitored by Moore on Cliffs of Moher with Beggy running into the back of rivals some way down. As the eventual winner was temporarily stopped behind Dubai Thunder (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) approaching the two-furlong pole, Cliffs of Moher was running down Cracksman for the advantage which he gained a furlong out as Eminent (GB) (Frankel {GB}) also entered the reckoning. Just as Cliffs of Moher seemed assured of victory, Wings of Eagles was powering to the extent that Beggy put down his stick 100 yards out with that feeling that all jockeys have when the victorious momentum is firmly with them.

Padraig Beggy, who was suspended for 15 months by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory for a banned substance in September 2014, was relishing the moment his once-curtailed career took an upward trajectory. “I'd nearly given up on the big days, but Aidan O'Brien is as great with people as he is with horses and is a fair man,” he said, before turning his attention to the horse that has catapulted him into the big time. “He is a big, strong colt who had grown since I last sat on him in February or March and he let me know it on the way down to the start,” he added. “He's a free-running horse and I wanted cover, as I was always going to come late. Some horses are cleverer than others and he went to sleep for me early and did his best work late. His best furlong is his last, which makes a big difference and he flew and hit the line very well.”

Aidan O'Brien would have been forgiven for leaving Wings of Eagles at home and coming to Epsom with a Galileo battalion still numbering five, but it is clear that the latest blue riband victor had shown enough at home since Chester to force his way onto the plane. With four of the first seven home, the Ballydoyle trainer was more than satisfied with his selection process which put paid to the much-bandied theory that “if you have a few in the Derby you probably haven't got the winner”. O'Brien, who was collecting a sixth renewal, revealed that the winner had long been considered the right material for this race but his attention was just as much on the runner-up. “We thought he was a very nice horse last year and he ran a lovely race at the back-end in France and then ran a lovely trial at Chester,” he said. “I couldn't be happier and obviously I'm delighted with Cliffs of Moher. He's a bit of a baby and his next run will be something to look forward to. He 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 [G1] Irish Derby [at The Curragh July 1] 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.” Of Beggy, he continued, “Paddy is a world-class rider, he has a great mind and is always very tactically very aware–I'm delighted for him and I can't tell you how delighted we are to have him working with us and riding on these big days.”

Co-owner Michael Tabor was celebrating another in a seemingly endless supply of red-letter days and commented, “You never get tired of winning a race at the pinnacle of horse racing. 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 had been forthright in his belief in the run-up to the race that Cracksman would have benefited from more experience and the Oppenheimer colt's performance bore that out. Needing cajoling by Frankie for a lot of the contest, he stuck to his guns all the way to the line in a highly promising pointer to what could be a big future. “I think Frankie found that the horse was still a bit immature mentally about the whole thing,” his trainer explained. “A couple of times, Frankie had to galvanise him, particularly at the top of the hill–you could see his elbows moving a little, it was even picked up by the commentator. He was running a bit babyishly–maybe he could have done with that other race beforehand–but he has run a grand race, he was just caught out for experience and wasn't beaten far. We knew there was going to be a lot of pace, but the pacemakers were rather ignored, they were allowed to go and they took a bit of catching. On the whole, it is the sort of result we expected with Cliffs of Moher, Cracksman and a 40-1 shot trained by Aidan, which we thought could happen. They are obviously a solid, even bunch of colts and we'd be happy for a rematch–Cracksman is in the Irish Derby and it wouldn't bother me going there at all, it is a nice galloping track and it would suit him.”

Eminent was the other Frankel in the mix and he did not appear too happy coming down the hill to Tattenham Corner and was also squeezed late on. Jockey Jim Crowley said, “He had every chance. I got squeezed at the top of the hill and then coming down the hill. The other horses have just had a change of gear, but he has run a cracker. He didn't travel that well, but had every chance. A big horse like that, he will be better on a flat track. He will give us a good spin in the Irish Derby.” Trainer Martyn Meade added, “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. A bit more cut in the ground would have been preferable too.”

Wings of Eagles was the sole French-bred in the line-up, bred by Gilles and Aliette Forien's Haras de la Reboursiere et de Montaigu and was becoming the fourth colt by a former Derby winner to win this in the last five runnings. His dam Ysoldina ran second for her breeders and the Alain de Royer-Dupre stable in the G3 Prix de la Grotte prior to running third in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and in the G2 Prix Corrida and G3 Prix Allez France and has already produced the useful listed-placed pair Torentosa (Fr) (Oasis Dream {GB}) and Gyrella (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}). She is a half-sister to five black-type performers, including the G1 Prix Saint-Alary heroine Belle et Celebre (Fr) (Peintre Celebre), multiple Scandinavian champion Appel Au Maitre (Fr) (Starborough {GB}) and G2 Prix Jean Romanet and G2 Premio Lydia Tesio winner Whortleberry (Fr) (Starborough {GB}). The latter was later responsible for Straw Hat (Jpn) (Fuji Kiseki {Jpn}), who was successful in the G3 Unicorn S. Wings of Eagle's year-older half-sister Sweet Electra (Fr) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) was bought by Pascal Bary for owners Hspirit for €600,000 at Arqana August in 2014, while her 2-year-old colt by Holy Roman Emperor (Ire) was snapped up by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for just €130,000 last year. She also has a yearling filly by Kingman (GB).


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