Investec Derby Day 2013
“The day Ruler Of The World beat the Ruler of Dubai.”
So ended David Walsh’s Derby report for The Sunday Times, and seldom, has a single sentence encapsulated the highs, the lows, the sub-plots and for some, the celebrations, of Derby Day.
Dawn Approach, Godolphin’s unbeaten 2,000 Guineas winner, had previously been supplemented for £8,000, by the 51% shareholder Sheikh Mohammed, in the hope of, not only winning the Derby for the first time, but, strengthening his bloodstock hand, so often eclipsed by the Coolmore Stud operation.
Dawn Approach’s remaining shareholder was his trainer, Jim Bolger, who, controversially, was director and co-founder of the Equinome genetics testing programme that was sure the colt would not stay the Derby distance.
The betting public, however, enamoured by the colt’s brilliant victories, thought they knew better and sent off the chestnut son of the 2008 Derby winner, New Approach, the 5-4 favourite.
Also in the field of 12, were runners from France – Andre Fabre’s Ocovango – and as far as known, the first German bred runner – Chopin, trained by Andreas Wohler.
Aidan O’Brien, saddled four for Ireland; three by the Champion Sire and 2001 Derby winner, Galileo, of which Battle Of Marengo (Joseph O’Brien), having won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes and Ruler Of The World (Ryan Moore), the Chester Vase, were the pick and, second and third favourites for the race.
O’Brien’s other two – Festive Cheer and Flying The Flag were generally expected to set a strong pace in an attempt to test the favourites stamina. However, when the stalls opened an alternative plan was revealed – for the slow pace completely unsettled Dawn Approach, who, ridden by Kevin Manning, was immediately, pulling hard, throwing his head from side to side and refusing to settle. Eventually, rounding Tattenham Corner, he pulled his way to the front, by which time his chance was gone – historian’s recalled a similar scenario when the brilliant Guineas winner Tudor Minstrel was beaten in 1947.
Meanwhile, at the two-furlong pole, Ruler Of The World joined Battle Of Marengo and then quickly drew away to win by one and a half lengths. Galileo Rock, a David Wachman entry, also by Galileo, stayed on well to be third, passed by the strong finishing Libertarian, who bagged second place, right on the line, after a photo finish of short heads for the places.
The race, run at a comparatively slow pace, was won in 2 min 39.06 sec., the winning jockey, Ryan Moore, having previously ridden Workforce to victory in 2010, in the Course record time of 2 min 31.33 sec. Ruler Of The World (pictured above, leaving the winner’s enclosure), became the first Derby winner to wear a cheekpiece.
Derby Day was also graced with the outstanding performance of St Nicholas Abbey, the first horse to win the Investec Coronation Cup three times. It was his sixth Group 1 success, after which, his trainer Aidan O’Brien said, “He’s a great traveller. He comes down the hill and he slowly moves up the gears. He is very classy and everyone forgets that he won a Racing Post Trophy by five or six lengths. He had that class the whole time. Obviously, his trainer destroyed him at three and it took him three years to get back! He is an incredible horse.”
And so say all of us.
Set out below is the classified result of this year’s Investec Derby
in the style of my history of the race.