Pádraig Beggy saw his dream turn to reality at Epsom Downs on Saturday as he won the Investec Derby on outsider Wings Of Eagles in what was his first ride in the race.
The winning jockey had previously considered quitting the sport, but the 31-year-old was thankful he decided not do, as he brought the 40-1 chance home to give Aidan O’Brien 1-2, and a sixth Derby victory in all.
Beggy said: “I dreamt of it fairly young, but it is hard to get on the good ones. I nearly gave it up. Fair play to Aidan O’Brien, he put me on. It doesn’t matter what price they are when you are riding for Aidan. I’m delighted for the horse and the lads that ride him.”
The jockey explained the importance of winning a race of this prestige:
“This means the world. The main thing for me is that my family are home watching this. I’m thrilled, but they will be even more thrilled. I don’t get to sit on many beasts like this at the races, so I’m going to enjoy it. I’d nearly given up on the big days, but Aidan O’Brien has made it happen. It’s happy days.”
Beggy mentioned the advice Ryan Moore, who ironically finished second on Cliffs Of Moher, gave him:
“Ryan told me to ride him like that. I don’t think they went too mad, but they went quick. I was on a good horse and he looked a million dollars. A furlong down I said I’m nearly going to win because of the momentum I’d picked up, and I won a shade cosy in the end.”
The now Derby-winning jockey went on:
“It’s brilliant. I will go down in history that I have won the Derby and that is good enough. I will be remembered for something.”
Talking about the winning horse, trainer Aidan O’Brien said:
“His lad at home was delighted with him. We thought he was a very nice horse last year, he ran a lovely race at the back-end in France and then ran a lovely race at Chester.”
Though beaten into second, Cliffs Of Moher, is the horse of the two O’Brien believes has most room for improvement:
“I couldn’t be happier, and obviously I’m delighted with Cliffs Of Moher but he’s a bit of a baby and his next run will be something to look forward to. Ryan’s horse got there and just got tired, but Pádraig gave the winner a great ride. He had him in a lovely rhythm, nice and balanced.”
O’Brien heaped praise on Beggy following his unexpected success:
“Paddy is a world-class rider, he has a great mind and is always very aware – I’m delighted for him, I can’t tell you how delighted we are to have him working with us.”
John Gosden, trained of the race favourite, Cracksman, felt the inexperience of his horse showed late on:
“I think it was a good, solid run. I think Frankie found the horse slightly immature. I think he just ran a little babyish and he could have done with that other run (in the Dante), but I didn’t want to run him on that soft ground. He is in the Irish Derby; I would not mind going there at all as it is a nice, galloping track.”
Another horse, who may head for The Curragh showcase on the 1st July, is the Martyn Meade-trained Eminent, who finished fourth on Saturday.
He said the horse’s rider, Jim Crowley, immediately nominated the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby for the horse:
“Jim Crowley immediately got off and said go for the Irish Derby. He certainly stays; there is no question about that. The bit of luck in running didn’t work out.”