Ryan Moore hands Stoute fifth Derby win

WITH a scintillating run under the ride of the season, Workforce cut through the Investec Derby field yesterday and left the rest of the colts sprawling in his wake to lift the Blue Riband of Flat racing in quite extraordinary style.

• Ryan Moore riding Workforce wins the Investec Derby during the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom racecourse Pic Getty

A superb performance in the saddle by champion jockey Ryan Moore gave the son of trainer Gary Moore his first Derby and his second Classic in 24 hours, having won the Investec Oaks aboard Snow Fairy on Friday.

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Workforce's seven-lengths win in a new course record time of 2 minutes 31.33 seconds brought comparisons with Shergar, and those were not too fanciful – this colt could be the equal or better of any Derby winner in previous decades.

What a pity then, that the bit slipped and he ran all over the place in the Dante Stakes at York, or he would already be looking to emulate last year's hero Sea The Stars.

As it is, on this showing, there is surely nothing to stop Workforce ruling the middle-distance races for the rest of the season. And there's another reason for ruing the fact that Sea The Stars has been retired to stud – what a boost for racing it would have been had this year's new star met last year's Star in the Eclipse Stakes or King George.

That encounter must exist only in computer-generated fantasy, sadly, and racing fans must content themselves with trying to catch a glimpse of a colt who totally dominated the class field for yesterday's race.

There will be those who say that it was a false race, as pacemaker At First Sight set off at a tremendous rate of knots and just kept going. He was supposed to be setting up the race for Aidan O'Brien's main pair, 9-4 favourite Jan Vermeer and the well-fancied Midas Touch.

It just didn't happen that way as nobody told At First Sight that he was only the hare. As he quickened up coming round Tattenham Corner, in behind him a lot of colts suddenly looked like tortoises, but Aesop was not writing this fable – the hare just kept on finding more.

One jockey looked supremely confident, however. Having broken his Classic duck on Snow Fairy, Moore rode a quite brilliant race, bringing the 6-1 shot weaving through the field, switching one way and then the other without harming his colt's momentum.

The pairing passed At First Sight and quite amazingly, Workforce found even more acceleration to go well clear under Moore. At the line, it was discovered that he had smashed nearly a second off Lammtarra's victory time of 2 minutes 32.31 seconds in 1995.

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At First Sight kept on bravely for second at 100-1, giving jockey Seamie Heffernan his second successive second place in the race following Fame and Glory last year.

Each-way once-a-year punters on Frankie Dettori at least got their money back when his colt Rewilding stayed on into third at 9-2, which also meant his owner Sheikh Mohammed regained the supplementing fee he paid on Monday for the horse to enter the race at a late stage.

It was the fifth win in the world's greatest Classic for trainer Sir Michael Stoute, adding to the victories of Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kris Kin (2003) and North Light (2004). Owner Prince Khaled Abdullah's long support of British racing has now seen him win three Derbies over 20 years, Quest For Fame and Commander In Chief giving him his first two in 1990 and 1993 respectively.

Stoute said: "Winning the Derby seems to get sweeter and sweeter and that was a very, very exhilarating display.

"I wanted to give him two races this season before the Derby and the one race I did give him didn't work out, but that doesn't matter now.

"I was under no pressure to run and he wouldn't have done if Ryan and I didn't think he had a good chance.

"We will take him home, chill him out, have a chat and see what we do. The Irish Derby is the obvious place to go, but let's just see how he comes out of it."

Stoute added: "I'm delighted for Ryan. It's been his great ambition to win the Derby and he has put a lot of work into this horse."

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The jockey himself said: "I was happy where I was in the race. We got a dream run and he quickened up exceptionally well. The ground was fast enough for him, but he's a really good horse and I'm delighted with that.

"This is the most important race to me, it's great to ride for the boss and Prince Khalid. It's amazing the reception you get, it's a special day."

Aidan O'Brien said the winner was "exceptional" and you should not feel too sorry for the Irish trainer as he now has a warm order for today's French Derby, Cape Blanco having comfortably beaten Workforce in the Dante. Jan Vermeer had lost both his front shoes, O'Brien revealed, but he still would not have caught the winner. Significantly, there were no real excuses from any other trainer or jockey.

Renfrewshire trainer Jim Goldie will be cursing the traffic which caused former champion jockey Kieren Fallon to miss the earlier Investec Entrepreneurial Class 'Dash' handicap.

Late replacement Ted Durcan did well to get Hawkeyethenoo from nearly last to within a neck of the winner Bertoliver, a 33-1 shot, and Fallon's absence might well have made the difference between victory and defeat in the sprint.

In the opening race, James Given's progressive Dandino completed a seasonal hat-trick by quickening away impressively in the Investec Vincent O'Brien handicap. He was nowhere near as impressive as Workforce, however. You feel the great O'Brien himself would not have minded Ballydoyle horses being beaten by such a wondrous performance.