Ryan Moore likely to partner Wings of Eagles for Derby double attempt

Ballydoyle No 1 set to be back on board after Pádraig Beggy’s dream win at Epsom

 Padraig Beggy riding Wings Of Eagles to win  The Investec Derby from Cliffs Of Moher at Epsom. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Image

Padraig Beggy riding Wings Of Eagles to win The Investec Derby from Cliffs Of Moher at Epsom. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Image

 

Ryan Moore is likely to be back on board Wings Of Eagles when Saturday’s Investec Derby hero bids to complete the Epsom-Curragh double at the start of July but it is the unlikely name of Padraig Beggy that will forever be associated with Aidan O’Brien’s latest ‘Blue-Riband’ champion.

The 31-year-old journeyman jockey was back at work on Sunday morning riding out at Ballydoyle while Moore and O’Brien later finished out of the places in the Prix Du Jockey Club won by Brametot at Chantilly.

It was the outsider Taj Mahal who did best of the Ballydoyle trio in fourth, a place ahead of Moore’s mount, War Decree.

O’Brien indicated in Paris that Wings Of Eagle is set to try and become the 19th horse to pull off the Derby double at the Curragh with Saturday’s Epsom runner-up Cliffs Of Moher likely to wait and drop back in trip for Sandown’s Eclipse Stakes.

That division allows Moore ride both colts leaving Beggy to step back from the sudden and spectacular burst of limelight he enjoyed at the weekend but with the incalculable consolation of a place on racing’s most coveted roll-of-honour.

Wings Of Eagles’ 40-1 Derby SP was the biggest since Snow Knight 43 years before but the price was only part of the surprise element at Epsom.

If it was a case of ‘Padraig Who’ for the general public many within racing were also left scrambling to recall a more unlikely Derby-winning rider.

Beggy’s less than spectacular career up to then had seen him move from Ireland to Britain and then to Australia where his most notable claim to fame was a one-year ban for a positive cocaine test.

He returned to Ireland and started working for O’Brien at the start of 2015 but with little more than a handful of rides this season his role appeared to be principally that of work rider.

Presented with a first Derby ride however he turned it into the opportunity of a lifetime in a race which over its 238-year history has proved elusive to some legendary names of the saddle.

Life-changing success

It was quickly back to the day-job on Sunday though, the Dunboyne native riding five lots even after such a life-changing success under his belt.

“There was a bit of a buzz between all the lads riding out,” Beggy confirmed. “I rode him [Wings Of Eagles] work a couple of times as a two year old and rode him more this year in February-March time when we’d be doing long canters. Aidan trained these horses for the race. We were all there with a chance.”

It was a chance that escaped the notice of most form students beforehand. Wings Of Eagles’ only previous victory came at Killarney last August under another of Ballydoyle’s support-team, Emmet McNamara.

The son of the 2011 Derby hero Pour Moi could subsequently finish only fourth at Newmarket the sole time he was ridden by Moore. But if Coolmore’s latest Derby hero had mostly slipped under the radar prior to Saturday he will be firmly centre-stage at the Curragh.

The connections of Saturday’s third and fourth, Cracksman and Eminent, immediately indicated a willingness to tackle Wings Of Eagles again on his home ground where O’Brien will attempt to win Ireland’s premier classic for a 12th time.

“We might have a look at the Irish Derby with Wings Of Eagles and it’s possible we might have a look at the Eclipse with Cliffs Of Moher. But it will be a week or ten days before we decide anything,” Ireland’s champion trainer said on Sunday.

If the French Derby continues to elude him, 20 years after his first classic success, O’Brien’s grip on the rest of Europe’s top races has never looked tighter.

At 47 a sixth Epsom Derby equals the tally of his legendary Ballydoyle predecessor, Vincent O’Brien. The depth of talent available to him was highlighted by Saturday’s six-strong challenge and an unlikely chance for Beggy which he took with aplomb.

Seven winners

Just three men, Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling, can trump O’Brien’s Epsom Derby haul. But the power of Ballydoyle, and the Coolmore ammunition at his disposal, will leave many to conclude it’s only a matter of time before the Irishman betters their record of seven winners each.

It’s a rate of success which consequently makes O’Brien’s Prix Du Jockey Club blank all the more conspicuous.

Taj Mahal cut out much of the running in Sunday’s €1.5 million classic but his better fancied stable companions War Decree and Orderofthegarter never figured with a chance as Brametot stormed down the outside to edge out Waldegeist on the line.

The Jean Claude Rouget-trained winner completed the French Guineas-Derby double, the first to do it since Lope De Vega in 2010, and is a general 8-1 shot for the Arc in October.

Brametot was at the rear of the field turning into the straight and Rouget, who won the 2016 Jockey Club with Almanzor, said: “Turning in I thought we were finished. He just had too much ground to make up. But this horse is so tough.”

If his colts failed to make the frame, O’Brien didn’t rule out an attempt on the next French classic, the Prix de Diane, in a fortnight with Friday’s Oaks runner up, Rhododendron.

“We have plenty of options. She could go to the Pretty Polly or we could have a look at the French Oaks,” he said.

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