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The Derby: Could Aidan O’Brien’s domination in the Classic contest continue?

The Ballydoyle trainer claimed the outright win record for the Derby last season



Horse Racing - Derby Festival - Epsom Downs Racecourse, Epsom, Britain - June 1, 2019 Seamie Heffernan celebrates after winning the 4.30 Investec Derby Stakes on Anthony Van Dyck Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

With the rising possibility of the contest being cancelled for the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a rescheduled date of July 4th was finally named for the running of the 241st Epsom Derby.

It would become ironic that the race would be run on the day the Americans know as Independence Day, as a surprise underdog was left to his own devices and ran the race effectively on his own.

25/1 outsider Serpentine stole the show with a front-running gallop that was completely underestimated by the field, thanks to incredible tactical awareness from rider Emmet McNamara.

watch: aidan o’brien dominated last season’s classics at epsom, first winning the oaks with love before serpentine followed up in the derby [credit: racing tv]

The three-year-old proved his staying ability as they made the turn around Tattenham Corner, with his rivals starting to realise that they were in trouble far too late.

The Master of Ballydoyle, Aidan O’Brien, bids for a ninth winner in the Derby later this year

The sensational victory was confirmed only moments later, with the colt winning by an impressive five and a half lengths.

Serpentine’s success meant that Aidan O’Brien became the most successful trainer in the history of The Derby, with the 51-year-old claiming his eighth win in the British Classic.

The most intriguing fact to rise out of the trainer’s dominance is that Galileo, who gave the Ballydoyle mastermind his first victory in the race back in 2001, has gone one to sire four of the next seven winners from the yard.

Galileo completed the English and Irish Derby success for Aidan O’Brien back in 2001

Once again, the 12-time leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland has produced another major contender for O’Brien, this time in the form of Beresford Stakes winner High Definition.

A strong runner with bags of stamina and incredible turn of foot, the three-year-old stallion has shown to have the potential to land a ninth success in the Classic content for the Irish trainer.

O’Brien does not just have a hand of cards to play in The Derby but near enough half a deck, as he currently holds 25 entries in the 1m4f contest.

Van Gogh made the trip across the English Channel in October to land his first Group 1 in the Criterium International, while Dewhurst Stakes runner-up Wembley showed significant progress as a two-year-old last season.

Van Gogh landed a Group 1 in Saint-Cloud for O’Brien in October

Maiden winners Cleveland, Bolshoi Ballet, Carlisle Bay, Roman Empire and Arturo Toscanini look the best of the rest in the Ballydoyle yard and could well make the trip across the Irish sea if they can progress further.

It would be no surprise if Aidan O’Brien claimed success in The Derby once again this season, with the English needing to step their game up to contend with the colts of Galileo.