Workforce shows star credentials

WORKFORCE has been given a higher rating than Sea The Stars at the equivalent stage last year following his sensational record-breaking victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

The British Horseracing Authority's official handicappers were impressed by the seven-length romp of the Sir Michael Stoute-trained winner in a new best time for the premier Classic, and have reacted accordingly, giving him a rating of 128.

"I have discussed the race with my colleague Chris Nash and independently we have come up the same figure, so we are pretty pleased with that," said the BHA's senior handicapper, Phil Smith. "We have used Rewilding (third) as our marker. We've got him running to 115, and At First Sight (second) therefore is 116.

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"We thought the winner won easily enough, but instead of calling it seven lengths we have called it eight.

"We work on one and a half pounds per length over a mile and a half so he comes out a 12lb better horse than At First Sight, so it puts him on 128. That's very high for a Derby-winning performance.

"We've had Derby winners eventually get higher than that, obviously Sea The Stars last year – we put him on 124 (after the Derby) and it was more his Eclipse and Irish Champion Stakes performances that saw him go higher.

"This is really high for a Derby winner at this stage. We had Authorized on 127 after he won it (in 2007) and he was a lot more impressive than Authorized was."

Stoute was landing his fifth Investec Derby as Ryan Moore completed a quick-fire Classic double in front of the 100,000-strong crowd at Epsom.

The three-times champion jockey followed up his first Classic win on Snow Fairy 24 hours earlier by thundering clear.

At First Sight, the 100-1 outsider, sent a chill through the Derby Day crowd on turning for home as he was poised to slip the field, but Moore was alive to his efforts and led over a furlong out.

Workforce (6-1) was the only one of the 12 runners to collar the long-time leader, with Frankie Dettori's gambled-on mount, Rewilding, finishing a half-length third.

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While Kieren Fallon has always been the undisputed king of Epsom, Moore is emerging as a serious rival for that crown. Although he batted away Snow Fairy's Oaks win as merely another race, there was no hiding the inner delight as he climbed aboard the winner's podium.

The 26-year-old said: "The Derby is the most important race for me and the reception I got from my friends and family was great. I am just lucky things have fallen right this weekend and this is a really special day. I'll remember it, that is for sure."

The Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned Workforce was having only his third career start, with the Goodwood maiden winner having failed to fire properly when second in the Dante.

Moore added: "He has quickened like a great horse and it is really important for me to win this. Time will tell how good he is, but today he put in a great performance."

Stoute had to a abandon plans for a 2000 Guineas bid after Workforce was slow to come to hand in the spring, and elected instead for a racecourse gallop at Lingfield.

The son of King's Best also demolished the statistic of no horse beaten in the Dante winning the Derby – with Stoute describing it as "rubbish" – while he also shaved a second off Lammtarra's course record of 2min 32.3sec set in 1995.

Stoute said: "Winning the Derby seems to get sweeter and sweeter and that was a very, very exhilarating display. It is one of the greatest feelings and one of the greatest races, if not the best. I am thrilled – they do truly get better and I am particularly delighted for Ryan to win his first Derby."

If not for Workforce it would have been another Aidan O'Brien-dominated finish. O'Brien had only three runners at Epsom this year rather than a mob-handed approach and his select team did him proud to finish second (At First Sight), fourth (9-4 favourite Jan Vermeer) and fifth (Midas Touch).

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O'Brien reported 9-4 favourite Jan Vermeer to have lost two shoes during his effort, but it was his 100-1 pacemaker At First Sight who surprisingly fared best.

O'Brien said: "Jan Vermeer lost both his front shoes, but the second horse stays really well. You've got to be pleased with that, they were all there. The winner looked exceptional."

Dettori split the O'Brien pack on Rewilding in third and the Italian said: "It was a great run – he did not have the gears to go with the winner, but stayed on well and will be a lovely St Leger horse."