01/06/2024. Horse Racing World Epsom (UK): ‘Sensational’ City Of Troy silences the doubters to give Aidan O’Brien his tenth Derby win


City Of Troy wins the Derby over Ambiente Friendly

City Of Troy justified the faith placed in him by Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore with a dazzling Derby displayCredit: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

City Of Troy silenced his doubters in awesome fashion as last year’s champion juvenile bounced back to form with a dominant success in the Betfred Derby at Epsom on Saturday.

Ballydoyle’s latest star was a bitterly disappointing ninth on his seasonal reappearance in the 2,000 Guineas but he rebounded from that defeat with a brilliant performance. He beat the strong-travelling and well-backed Ambiente Friendly to land his second Group 1 after his sensational success in last year’s Dewhurst Stakes.

This was a record-extending tenth Derby victory for trainer Aidan O’Brien and a fourth for jockey Ryan Moore.

The 3-1 favourite broke from stall one and was settled towards the rear of the field by Moore as his stablemates Euphoric and Los Angeles forced the pace. Voyage unseated Pat Dobbs out of the stalls and later intimidated the runners in the home straight.

Moore had ground to make up in the home straight but made it swiftly towards the inside of the track aboard City Of Troy, who found generously on his first start beyond a mile to win by two and three-quarter lengths.

Loose runner Voyage leads home City Of Troy in the Derby at Epsom
Loose runner Voyage leads home City Of Troy in the Derby at EpsomCredit: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

“It was hard to know what would happen today, but I was very sure we had the best horse,” Moore told ITV Racing. “At Newmarket it didn’t happen and we can’t pretend we knew it would happen but we do know he has a big engine.

“He showed himself to be a brilliant two-year-old. In the Guineas, we got a few things wrong, but it’s great that he could come back today. He was still a little bit immature, it’s the first time he’s run around a bend and hopefully there’s plenty more to work on.

“It was sensational. He was going to win very easily and then with the loose horse in front of him, he was still a bit unsure, but he galloped out strong. He quickened well and kind of waited so you’d have to be delighted with what happened today.”

City Of Troy holds entries in the St James’s Palace Stakes, Irish Derby, Coral-Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Betfair reacted by cutting him to 5-1 (from 16) for the Arc on October 6 and 12-1 (from 20) for the Eclipse on July 6.

“I’m so grateful to everybody,” O’Brien said. “The exciting thing for us is Justify. He looked very special all the way and the class that they have, they have speed and stamina. Ryan gave him an incredible ride.

“We knew the Guineas went totally wrong, I made mistakes training him and that’s the bottom line. There are stones that I didn’t look under. He was too fresh, was unprepared and that was the reality of it. We all know the facts and we spoke about it.


A smiling Aidan O'Brien after City Of Troy's Derby win
A smiling Aidan O’Brien after City Of Troy’s Derby winCredit: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

“I knew the ability he had but he was too fresh going into the Guineas. Since then, everything has been beautiful. The cruising speed that he has, and the ability he has, it’s very exciting for everybody.”

When asked if City Of Troy was his best Derby winner, he said: “I’d say no doubt.”

Ambiente Friendly, who was the subject of a high-profile jockey switch, raced more prominently than the winner and ran creditably under Robert Havlin for James Fanshawe.

The Leopardstown Derby Trial winner Los Angeles finished third under Wayne Lordan, while Green Team Racing filled the fourth and fifth places with Deira Mile and Sayedati Sedaaty. Last year’s Group 1 Futurity winner Ancient Wisdom finished eighth for Godolphin.

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