The Investec Derby 2011
As the Official Derby Historian part of my service is to continue the ongoing history of the race in the style of my previous books. So, I feel it appropriate, that my first Blog should be about the great race.
The 2011 Derby was both exciting and dramatic, with the Queen’s horse Carlton House and the French-trained Pour Moi at the head of the betting.
Here is my account of the race and the events surrounding it.
In a Derby filled with passion and drama, the iconic moment came yards from the post. Mickael Barzalona, aboard Pour Moi, having come from stone last, to win the Derby in the final stride, simultaneously, stood upright in the saddle to salute the crowd – the photofinish print capturing his exuberance together with a mere head victory over Treasure Beach.
All would agree that the print was not only an exceptional statement, but one that will forever remain a part of Derby history.
Ten days before the Derby, Andre Fabre, France’s 22-times champion trainer, brought Pour Moi, the recent winner of the 1m.2f. Prix Greffulhe, to the Epsom event, Breakfast with the Stars. After an impressive mile gallop, Fabre, delighted by what he saw, asserted that this was his best chance ever, to win the race.
Ironically, the event’s other racecourse gallop involved the Ed Dunlop trained, Native Khan, ridden by Kieren Fallon, who, having previously signed an agreement to ride the horse in the Derby, later agreed to ride the Aidan O’Brien trained, Recital. The case was put before a High Court judge, and following an appeal, Fallon ended up riding neither horse.
However, the main topic going into the race was the Queen’s horse, Carlton House, winner of the Dante Stakes and 6-4 favourite, until incurring an injury to his
near-foreleg a week before the race. Bulletin’s were posted daily and the colts Epsom chances were closely monitored on Betfair, until, eventually, Sir Michael Stoute gave him the all-clear and the nation breathed a sigh of relief.
On a glorious summer’s day, before a crowd of 120,000, thirteen went to post on good to firm ground. Her Majesties’ Carlton House, ridden by Ryan Moore, was sent off the 5-2 favourite. While there was strong support for Pour Moi, from 6-1 into
4-1, with Recital, the best backed of the Aidan O’Brien quartet and now ridden by P.J. Smullen, at 5-1.
After an even start, the early leaders were Memphis Tennessee, Marhaba Malyoon and Treasure Beach, while Carlton House was steadied at the back of the field and, Pour Moi remained last.
Coming down the hill, Memphis Tennessee extended his lead to six lengths, until rounding Tattenham Corner, where Carlton House made his move, rapidly making up ground wide of the pack. Approaching the two-furlong marker, Memphis Tennessee’s lead was down to three lengths from Treasure Beach, with Carlton House, Native Khan and Recital in hot pursuit. At the furlong pole, Treasure Beach moved up challenge Memphis Tennessee, while Ryan Moore was now hard at work to close the gap.
With 80 yards to run Treasure Beach was holding Carlton House, however, Pour Moi, having tracked the Queen’s horse all along the straight, produced an incredible burst of speed to pass everything close home.
The official winning distance was a head. Treasure Beach was second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Carlton House, with Memphis Tennessee fourth.
An attractive, dark bay colt with a blaze, Pour Moi was bred by Lynch Bages Ltd, alias Paul Shanahan of Coolmore Stud. He is the third Derby winner in seven years from his sire Montjeu, and the fourth foal of his unraced dam Gwynn, whose Sadler’s Wells filly, Gagnoa, was placed in both the French and Irish Oaks.
Sadly, in late August, Pour Moi suffered a severe overreach to his near fore fetlock during exercise at Chantilly. He did not race again and stands at Coolmore Stud, where, for the 2014 breeding season, his fee was reduced from E17,500 to E12,500.