Racing’s most successful trio of owners – Sue Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith – landed their third Investec Derby on the trot on 3rd June 2013 when Ruler Of The World beat 11 rivals.
Their colours were carried by five runners, headed by Battle Of Marengo, who was ridden by Joseph O’Brien into fourth place, and Ruler Of The World, who was the mount of Ryan Moore.
Magnier’s husband, John, who has forged the link between Coolmore Stud and Ballydoyle Stables into one of racing’s most potent forces – Ruler Of The World was bred at the former and is trained at the latter by Aidan O’Brien – said: “This is what it’s all about. Joseph had the choice of mounts, and I would say Aidan thought Ruler Of The World was next best of the five. An interesting thing about the [Investec] Derby is you never know how good horses are at this time of year.
“It’s been more difficult than ever this year because they didn’t know where they were with the horses, although it’s the same for everybody. They haven’t been on the grass [gallops] that much, and if you try to find out who’s best at home you’re not going to win the [Investec] Derby. We bring horses here if they look as though they are good enough to be here.”
The day’s winner was the tenth to come out of Ballydoyle, with six trained by Magnier’s father-in-law Vincent O’Brien, and four by current resident Aidan O’Brien. Magnier said: “We have just been lucky and are going through a good patch. Everyone knows how good a trainer my father-in-law was, and the current fellow isn’t bad either.”
Michael Tabor said: “It’s the most wonderful feeling to win the [Investec] Derby, no matter how many times you do it. It’s always hard and there’s so much that can go wrong during the race. It’s a thrill.”
Derrick Smith said: “It’s just incredible, because that’s a double treble with three Coronation Cups [courtesy of St Nicholas Abbey] and three Derbys. It’s more than a dream because you couldn’t dream it. You always want to beat a good horse and we beat Dawn Approach today, but it may have been stamina that beat him. He pulled very hard and I’m sure it wasn’t their plan to go to the front so early.
“Running plans just evolve with these horses. Ruler Of The World had only run twice, but there’s only one [Investec] Derby. At Chester he strode away from his field and ran powerfully to the line so I for one was sure Epsom would suit him. We’re very lucky owners, but to win the Triple Crown would still be a dream.”
Jockey Ryan Moore said: “We went very slowly all the way up the hill and the field was tightly congested. I was going to be taken wide, so had to come back and get some cover.
“Chester was only his second start, and to come from a maiden to a tight track like Chester was not easy, but he was learning his trade and put his head down and galloped to the line. Today was only his third run and he’s clearly a really nice horse.
“He was a slow starter who probably didn’t have much training as a two-year-old, so the cheekpieces just sharpen him up and help him concentrate. I shouldn’t think he’ll always need them because he’s a very straightforward horse.
“Time will tell how good he is. He’s quickened well off a slow pace and was in front from a long way out – he had to tough it out in front of a big crowd and he’s still learning.”
Asked if he was aware of any team tactics among the five O’Brien runners, Moore said: “We were all just individually doing our own thing.”
Asked about his five runners, winning trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “The two we thought had the best chance were Battle Of Marengo and Ruler Of The World, but we always thought the world of Mars and felt Flying The Flag and Festive Cheer would improve for a step up in trip.
“Everyone was in the same boat [once the race started]. We didn’t create an artificial pace – they [the Ballydoyle jockeys] were all riding their own race and obviously Ryan and Colm had ridden their horses before, Seamus knew his from home and Richard [Hughes] was on his horse for the first time and taking his time.”
Of the cheekpieces worn by Ruler Of The World, O’Brien said: “He was very babyish the first time he ran and won his maiden, so at Chester we just felt it would be a good idea to put them on and help him go round the bends. We learned a lot there and he won nicely and we didn’t think there was any need to change what worked that day.
“Even before he came to Ballydoyle he must have been highly rated to be given such a name, and he’s always been a stunner with an unbelievable pedigree.” He then joked: “With a name like that I must have been scared to run him as a two-year-old.”
John Magnier said of the colt’s name: “The horses [before they race] are rated on pedigree and as individuals, and Sue [his wife] names them in February or March. Then we monitor them and this horse obviously made his way to the top – sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. We’ve had a lot of bad American presidents!”
Fellow joint-owner Michael Tabor admitted: “Earlier this year he [Ruler Of The World] wasn’t on my radar. The only thing I would say is that Aidan told me ‘we have four or five very nice horses that haven’t appeared yet’. I always know Aidan has some good ones in the locker and it just depends on when he wants to bring them out. This one was a late developer.”
Of Galileo, the sire of today’s winner, and a horse in who Tabor has a share, he said: “To have five runners in today’s race and to see what he has achieved, and to think he has become a sire of sires is marvellous. Hopefully, we have a lot more Galileos to come.”
FAVOURITE DAWN APPROACH ONE OF THE FIRST BEATEN
Dawn Approach kept pulling for his head as rider Kevin Manning held him up fifth last in the 12-strong Investec Derby field.
The 5/4 favourite would not settle at all and pulled himself into sixth place, then went second as the runners came over the top of the hill and soon took the lead. But his advantage did not last long and Manning accepted the situation as Dawn Approach dropped back to finish last.
Manning said: “He ran too free. A 100 yards out of the gates, he got competitive, ran too free and was carting me. He ended up pulling me there and I didn’t have any choice. I am running three deep (wide) and I just cannot get a pull out of him – I am just a passenger. I knew it was not possible for a horse to pull the way he did and win.”
Dawn Approach’s trainer Jim Bolger commented: “Kevin said that he jumped out all right and he was OK for about 10 strides. There wasn’t much pace on and the horse grabbed the bridle – from then on, he was more or less out of control.
“There was no pace and the horse did not settle. There was nothing there when Kevin pulled him out.
“Dawn Approach had been running over a mile where they were jumping out with a strong pace. Kevin just dropped his hands down his withers and let him bowl in those races.
“I doubt you will see Dawn Approach again over a mile and a half. We will take him home and see how he is and train him for a while. Time will help us to decide (what to do).
“There is nothing proved one way or the other. He just did not settle and run his race. This was not a good outcome.”