Monday 8 May 2017 will be a day I will never forget. It was the day I saddled my first winner as a trainer courtesy of Declarationoflove (pictured above), who won the 5f novice stakes at Royal Windsor. It might not have been the Derby but Jackie and I cheered him home as though it was.
He was not winning out of turn having been placed on his two previous racecourse outings including in a warm race over course and distance on debut. He was given a peach of a ride by Andrea Atzeni and ran out a ready winner. Owned by Adam Signy, Stephen Short and Ian Barratt, we purchased Declarationoflove relatively cheaply for 28,000eu at Goffs last autumn and it was always the dream for him to line up at Royal Ascot as a two-year-old.
This impressive win booked his ticked to the Royal Meeting and all being well he will line up in the Windsor Castle Stakes on the opening day of the Festival. I am under no illusions that he faces a stiff task but he more than deserves his place in the line up and I have every confidence that he can run well.
Declarationoflove was not only my first winner, he was a first winner for his sire Declaration Of War, who stands at Coolmore in America.
Talking of Coolmore, the triumvirate of Derrick Smith, Mrs John Magnier and Michael Tabor, celebrated another Derby triumph when Wings Of Eagles triumphed at odds of 40/1.
His trainer Aidan O’Brien continues to churn out Group 1 winners with remarkable regularity but I am not sure even the master handler predicted this success.
The first-string, Cliffs Of Moher, looked set for victory under Ryan Moore only to be caught close home by his stablemate under jockey Padraig Beggy, a rider not many of us on British soil had even heard of.
Despite only having ridden a handful of winners this season, Beggy produced his mount to perfection and must surely be set for a few more days on the big stage in the future.
This year’s Derby was an open affair on paper and it proved the case with just over a length covering the first four home. If I had to take one home to train (in my dreams obviously!) it would be Eminent who wasn’t beaten far in fourth. He is a huge frame of a horse who is only going to get better with age and I seriously think he will take the beating in all the big mile and a half races next year.