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Derby at Epsom: City Of Troy returns to form with Classic win for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore

City Of Troy wins the Betfred Derby at Epsom ahead of Ambiente Friendly and Los Angeles; Aidan O'Brien declares the son of Justify the best Derby winner he has trained after the colt returns to form following 2000 Guineas flop; Ryan Moore: "We didn't lose faith in the horse"

City Of Troy wins The Derby at Epsom
Image: City Of Troy wins the Betfred Derby at Epsom

City Of Troy gave Aidan O'Brien his 10th Derby success as he returned to form to triumph at Epsom ahead of Ambiente Friendly and stablemate Los Angeles.

​​​​​​Ryan Moore, winning his fourth Derby, settled the son of Justify, who flopped in the 2000 Guineas last time out, in mid-division as his other stablemate Euphoric took the field along.

He had a loose horse for company out in front after Voyage unseated Pat Dobbs leaving the stalls and still led as they turned for home, with Moore making steady progress on board City Of Troy.

After weaving his way through towards the far rail and quickening nicely, City Of Troy went ahead around two furlongs out with Ambiente Friendly also travelling well to his right under Robert Havlin.

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But City Of Troy kept on strongly in the closing stages to take the honours by two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Ambiente Friendly and Los Angeles, who had tracked Euphoric for much of the race, and Deira Mile.

City Of Troy had been a superstar juvenile before trailing home ninth behind Notable Speech at Newmarket. However, just like stablemate Auguste Rodin did 12 months ago, the 3/1 favourite silenced any doubters with a dazzling display in the blue riband event.

City Of Troy wins The Derby ahead of Ambiente Friendly
Image: City Of Troy prevails ahead of Ambiente Friendly

O'Brien said: "The exciting thing for us is Justify (his sire); he has looked very special all the way and the class that they have, speed as well as stamina, is amazing.

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"Ryan gave him an incredible ride and I'm so grateful to everyone for the work they have done.

"We knew the Guineas was totally wrong and I made mistakes training him, that's the bottom line. There were stones I didn't look under, he was too fresh, he was unprepared, he blew up, that's the reality.

"But we learned from it and knew the ability he had - and since then everything has been beautiful."

Jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O'Brien with the trophy after City Of Troy's Derby success
Image: Jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O'Brien, who was saddling his record-extending 10th Derby winner, with the trophy after City Of Troy's success

Asked if City Of Troy is the best Derby winner he has trained, O'Brien declared: "I'd say no doubt!

"Because he has the cruise, he has the balance, he quickens and he stays. I don't think there's any doubt about that."

Reflecting on his win, Moore added: "I had a nice position, but then the horses in front of me weren't the right ones to take me as far as I wanted to go so I had to find a little bit of room.

"The race opened up with the loose horse and I travelled well into the straight. He picked up and went to the front very easy and I felt he was still a little bit inexperienced.

Ryan Moore after winning The Derby on City Of Troy
Image: Moore acknowledges the crowd after winning The Derby on City Of Troy

"With the loose horse in front of him, I felt he didn't know what to do, but he changed his leads near the line and went on again.

"I'm just delighted as he showed so much as a two-year-old, but we got a few things wrong on the day in the Guineas. Aidan's got him back, we didn't lose faith in the horse and stuck to the plan and it's paid off.

"We believed if he turned up like we thought he would he'd be too good for them and he was.

"I was always happy where I was, it's never always going to be smooth with a field that size, but he took me there easily. He was in control a fair way out."

Quotes on beaten Derby horses

James Fanshawe, trainer of runner-up Ambiente Friendly, said: "I'm really thrilled with his run. He did absolutely nothing wrong. I thought coming to the two-furlong pole we had a real chance, and then obviously City Of Troy was back to his best, so we got beaten fair and square. No excuses, he ran a really good race and I’m delighted with him."

Aidan O'Brien on Los Angeles (third) and Euphoric (ninth): "We had two horses in the race that were going to get the trip very well (Los Angeles and Euphoric). We were happy that it was going to be an even and properly run race, and if that happens the best horse usually gets a clear run. Both of those horses stayed very well so they were going to be forward."

Jim Crowley (rider of Deira Mile fourth): "He ran very well. He probably wants a bit further. He was a bit slow early on and got further back than ideal."

Tom Marquand (rider of Sayedaty Sadaty, fifth): "He ran massive in typical Green Team fashion. He relaxed great and found a good rhythm, and he battled back hard."

Dylan Browne McGonagle (rider of Dancing Gemini, sixth): "He ran well. I rode him to finish and he just emptied out. He'll be better back in trip."

Will Buick (rider of Ancient Wisdom, eighth): "He was just found a bit wanting when the race developed."

Havlin, who had replaced Callum Shepherd on Ambiente Friendly, said: "I saw my worst nightmare coming up on my left! I've ridden the race many times in my head the last week and it nearly worked like clockwork.

"I thought I would still be travelling at the two [furlong] pole and he was travelling well. He found plenty, but the winner found that bit extra.

"I knew he was there and I could see City Of Troy coming out the corner of my eye. But I was trying to keep an eye on the loose horse as well.

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"I had a decision to make and do I go round the loose horse. I thought my only chance of beating Ryan Moore was to go round the loose horse - he could have taken the two of us out if I went on his inside.

"He's been beaten by a better horse on the day and his best days are yet to come. He's still got some growing up to do mentally."

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