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City Of Troy back on top after claiming convincing Derby victory at Epsom

City Of Troy was back to his brilliant best as he ran out a convincing victor in the Betfred Derby at Epsom.

Aidan O’Brien’s charge had been a superstar juvenile but fluffed his lines when well beaten in the 2000 Guineas.

However, just like stablemate Auguste Rodin did 12 months ago, the Justify colt, who was sent on his way as the 3-1 favourite, silenced any doubters with a dazzling display in the blue riband event.

Ryan Moore had to pick a route through after being caught inside in mid-division turning for home, but fortune favoured the brave as he powered home to score by two and three-quarter lengths from Ambiente Friendly, who travelled smoothly throughout but could not match the winner’s turn of foot.

It was a record-extending 10th Derby triumph for Ballydoyle maestro O’Brien, and a fourth win in the race for Moore. O’Brien also saddled the third home in the shape of Los Angeles.

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.

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

One for the family album

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“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.”

Coolmore partner Michael Tabor is one of those who never lost faith in City Of Troy.

He said: “It means everything, going forward with all the options we have with this horse, it’s just something to enjoy, that’s the main thing. Aidan said this is the best we’ve ever had and everything has come true.”

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.”

Moore said: “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 (Voyage unseated Pat Dobbs soon after the stalls opened) 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 of inexperienced.

“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.”

He went on: “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 loose 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.”

As for future plans, O’Brien – who first won the Derby with Galileo in 2001 – reported that all options will be considered before mapping out the next stage of the horse’s development.

He added: “We had a plan, his first three races were the Guineas, the Derby and then Saratoga on dirt over 10 furlongs (for the Travers Stakes).

“The lads will talk about that and talk to Ryan and decide what they want to do. The only thing I’m not sure about is Ryan said he was very babyish today and whether he would be able to deal with a race like that straight away I’m not sure, but the lads will all talk and make that decision.

“Looking at him today, there doesn’t seem to be any end to his stamina and that’s a trait in all the Justifys, they just keep going.

“It will be a hard decision for the lads. If he doesn’t go (to America), there are races like the Eclipse and the King George to think of and later on the Arc, as we know he stays very well.”

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