Serpentine runs out shock winner of Investec Derby

Serpentine is clear at Epsom
Image: Serpentine is clear at Epsom

Serpentine sprang a 25-1 surprise as he made all for a famous victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom.

One of six runners for Aidan O'Brien - who was winning the race for an incredible eighth time - Serpentine only shed his maiden tag at the third time of asking last weekend.

Turning out just seven days later, Serpentine appeared to be filling the pacemaker role for better-fancied stable companions, including Mogul, with Khalifa Sat and fellow O'Brien contender Amhran Na Bhfiann the only ones to really try to go with him.

But Serpentine and Emmet McNamara had built up a huge advantage by Tattenham Corner, and the Galileo colt was not for stopping - galloping all the way to the line for a five-and-a-half-length verdict.

Khalifa Sat, a 50-1 shot, hung on for second, while Amhran Na Bhfiann was third at 66-1 for a tricast that paid £55,977.83.

Kameko, winner of the 2000 Guineas, was a fast-finisher in fourth, having been sent off the 5-2 favourite, while English King was fifth and Mogul sixth under Ryan Moore.

McNamara said: "I think I got a little bit of a freebie. I had huge amount of confidence in the horse having spoken to Aidan during the week.

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"He said he was a horse that is going to stay a mile and six well. He said jump, go your own tempo and just from halfway, from the six to the five, give him a breather. He said he'll keep going and he was right.

"All I could here was the horse breathing. He was in a good rhythm. He was relaxed and I couldn't hear a thing around me.

"I didn't want to be looking. I wasn't sure, but I knew I was a few (lengths) clear all right.

"It's a bit surreal. I can't believe it."

O'Brien said: "We try to give each horse the best chance of winning and ride them all accordingly.

"This horse (Serpentine) made the running last time and was very happy to go forward if nobody else wanted to. He won a maiden very impressively and he absolutely ran through the line over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh - to do that you have to have class.

"We all watched the race together at home and Donnacha (O'Brien, son) said after five furlongs 'Emmet wins here'. He was in front and there was no one going to challenge him - he was not going to stop.

"Emmet gave him a brilliant ride and judged the pace really well."

On setting a new record for Derby victories, he added: "We're so delighted, but we're in a privileged position to have such unbelievable horses and to work for and with such special people.

"It's a position very few people will ever get into. The horses have incredible pedigrees and everyone puts their heart and soul into it day in, day out. Everyone loves what they do and we appreciate all the opportunities that we get.

"It's very special to us to be part of a team of such special people.

"We'd obviously love to be there, but we're lucky to be racing. We'd love to be there, but it can't be as if we came back here afterwards I wouldn't be able to do anything for a couple of weeks.

"It's great the racing is on and a great credit to everyone who is making it happen."

Looking to future plans for the winner, O'Brien said: "We always thought he'd stay very well and I don't think he'd have any problem getting the St Leger trip, if that's what the lads decide to do.

"He could be an Arc horse - that's in the autumn and the ground could be soft, I don't think he'd have any problem with that.

"Love (Oaks winner) is a beautiful mover and I don't think you'd want to be going in deep ground with her, but this horse should handle it, so it's very possible."

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