Aidan O’Brien created history on Saturday by becoming the most successful trainer in the history in the Investec Derby as Serpentine handed the master of Ballydoyle an eighth winner of the premier Classic.
O’Brien said: “We discuss each horse and try and give every horse the best chance in the race and we ride them all accordingly.
Emmet McNamara, who made all the running to win the Investec Derby at his first attempt on Serpentine, said at the press conference following his famous victory: “No, I didn’t expect to be sitting here.
“The only thing I would say in that regard is that Aidan O’Brien filled me with a huge amount of confidence, so it’s not a complete surprise. He said that if things worked out well, he was one horse who could win the Derby. He instilled that into me and I actually did believe him, because when that man tells you something about a horse, if he tells you that the sky is green, you’d believe him.”
“Emmet was happy to go the front on his horse with his horse having won from the front the last day and William (Buick, third Amhran Na Bhfiann) was happy to also go forward if he was able. It was exactly the way it was. Wayne Lordan rode Serpentine the last day and he won it very impressively. He ran through to the line over a mile and a quarter at the Curragh and to do that, you have to be very good and have class and that is what he did really.
“We all watched the race together, Annemarie, Sarah, Ana and Donnacha. Donnacha mentioned at around five furlongs out that he thought Emmet would win here. He was very comfortable and there was no-one going to challenge him and he wasn’t going to stop.
“Emmet gave him a brilliant ride. He judged the pace really well. He was a horse who was going to get every yard of the mile and a half.
“We are so delighted. We are in a very privileged position to have such unbelievable horses and such unbelievably well-bred horses. We are working with special people. It is a position very few people will ever get into. The horses have such incredible pedigrees, top and bottom. There are so many special people involved and everyone puts their heart and soul into it day in, day out. Everyone loves what they do and we really appreciate every opportunity that we get and how grateful we are to everyone for what they do. It is just very special for us to be part of such a special team of people.
“Every race and all those big races, it is incredibly satisfying when they do win for everybody. There are so many links in the chain from when the mare is covered and then conceived. There are so many people involved all the way up to the present time. We have so many special people here in the finishing stage. You never really expect anything, and you just hope and do your best and try to get a good result.
“If it is a mile and a half race, we try and have it run at a mile and a half pace and whatever. We can then go forward from that and make a plan and that is always the best outcome for everybody.
“All the lads are always delighted whatever we decide. Obviously, those Classics, there is only one Derby and Oaks – it is just so special to have runners in them and for the lads to be able to ride them. Everyone knows when they get an opportunity, they take it with two hands. It is unbelievable really. It is hard to believe when you think about it but we’re so grateful for it really.
“We always thought he would stay very well. He would have no problem getting the Leger trip. He is by Galileo and from a Dylan Thomas family. I would imagine he would have no problem getting the trip if that is what the lads decide to do.
“He stays very well. I don’t think he would have a problem with soft ground in the autumn in an Arc. This horse has a little bit of knee action and on his pedigree, he would handle slower ground in something like an Arc.
“I didn’t really see the other horses and have not chatted to the jockeys yet. Amhrann Na Bhfiann was third and thought he would stay very well which he did do.
“Mogul was fifth and we felt he had progressed from Royal Ascot, but we felt he would progress more and we look forward to seeing him next time. He is a big, strong horse. We thought after two runs he would be ready and obviously the second one had to be the Derby. We look forward to him on his next run.
“Obviously, we would love to be there, but we are lucky to be racing. Everyone is communicating well. We had a good meeting before the racing. Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith are in Barbados along with Sue and John Magnier in Ireland. Everyone is on the call and with Zoom it is easy for us to chat. We would love to be there with you, but it is something we can’t do as if I came over and then headed back to Ireland, I wouldn’t be able to do anything for a couple of weeks.
“It’s great the event has happened. A big thanks to everyone at Epsom. It’s marvellous that is has happened and we would love to be there, but it just wasn’t to be this year.”