'Sensational' - City Of Troy cements superstar status with Derby glory

Aidan O'Brien claimed a record-extending tenth Epsom Derby when City Of Troy bounced back from his 2000 Guineas flop to land the biggest prize of them all.

CITY OF TROY (left, dark blue cap) winning the Epsom Derby.
CITY OF TROY (left, dark blue cap) winning the Epsom Derby. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Ballydoyle's champion juvenile supremely answered his critics after a bitterly disappointing performance in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last month when running out an emphatic winner of the 2024 Betfred Epsom Derby on Saturday.

The 3/1 market leader broke well from his statistically tricky inside draw and was soon settled into a nice early rhythm by Ryan Moore. Stablemates Euphoric and the unbeaten Los Angeles helped force the early tempo before both were joined by the loose Voyage, who unshipped his rider Pat Dobbs upon exiting the stalls.

City Of Troy appeared to be travelling kindly as the pace lifted around Tattenham Corner but still found himself with plenty of ground to make up as the field entered the Epsom straight. The eye was quickly drawn to impressive Lingfield Derby Trial winner Ambiente Friendly, who looked to be cantering all over his rivals under Rab Havlin as the fifteen-strong field entered the final two furlongs.

However, after finding a scene down towards the inside, City Of Troy began to eat up the ground under Ryan Moore and the pair swiftly took up proceedings with a furlong to travel. James Fanshwe's mount did his best to get back up terms with the Ballydoyle colt, but he was unable to match the gears shown by the son of Justify, who pulled further clear, despite still looking green out in front in the closing stages, to score by a widening two and three-quarter lengths.

Los Angeles finished a further three and a quarter lengths behind in third.

O'Brien, who was saddling a tenth Epsom Derby winner, said: "The exciting thing for us is Justify (his sire); he has looked very special all the way and the class that they have, speed as well as stamina, is amazing.

"Ryan gave him an incredible ride and I'm so grateful to everyone for the work they have done.

"We knew the Guineas went totally wrong and I made mistakes training him, that's the bottom line. There were stones I didn't look under, he was too fresh, he was unprepared, he blew up, that's the reality.

"But we learned from it and knew the ability he had – and since then everything has been beautiful."

Asked if City Of Troy is the best Derby winner he has trained, O'Brien responded: "I'd say no doubt!

"Because he has the cruise, he has the balance, he quickens, and he stays. I don't think there's any doubt about that."

City Of Troy looks to have the world at his feet and future options look open for the son of Justify, with bookmakers Paddy Power making him the 4/1 favourite (from 16s) for the Arc and 12/1 (from 20s) for the Coral Eclipse. The same firm introduced City Of Troy at 7/2 for the Travers Stakes on the dirt at Saratoga.

It was a fourth Epsom Derby success for jockey Ryan Moore, who said: "It was hard to know what would happen today, but I was very sure we still had the best horse before the race.

"Newmarket… it didn't happen. I can't pretend that we knew it would happen [today], but we do know that he has a big engine, he showed himself to be a brilliant two-year-old. The Guineas… we got a few things wrong. He's still a little bit immature, that's the first time he's run around a bend, hopefully, there's plenty more to work with."

On the feeling the horse gave when he took the gap up the rail, Moore agreed it was sensational, adding: "He was going to win very easily. With the loose horse in front of him, he was still a bit unsure, and then he galloped out strong. He quickened well and then kind of waited, you have to be delighted with what he has done today."

He added: "I had to find a little bit of room. The race kind of opened up, the loose horse in there, he travelled well into the straight, and he picked up and went to the front very easily and very quickly.

"I was always happy where I was. It's never going to be 100% smooth with a field that size, where we were, but I was able to pick a path. He took me there early and easily, and the race was over, and he was in control of it a fair way out.

"He's special - he won the Dewhurst, then to come here, and it's the first time he's been round a bend, and obviously it's a big step up in trip. We thought he was the sort of horse, and once again Aidan's brought him here, he's turned up and it all worked out great."

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