Anthony Van Dyck made a come-from-behind sprint to win Britain’s richest race, the Epsom Derby, in front of a beaming Queen Elizabeth on Saturday.
The thoroughbred entered as the 13-2 favorite, and beat out second place Madhmoon, with stablemate Japan finishing third.
Acclaimed Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien won his seventh Derby – though he did field seven of the 13 horses in the race. O’Brien now joins Robert Robson, John Porter and Fred Darling as the race’s winningest trainer.
“I’m so privileged to be part of the team,” O’Brien told ITV Racing, shortly after the win. “People from the ground all the way up to the riders … there are so many people that I would like to thank.”
Bangkok, the horse owned by late Leicester City chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, began the race at 9-1 odds, but disappointed.
Two-time Derby winner Frankie Dettori was riding another O’Brien horse, Circus Maximus, but fell out of contention before the final stretch.
The 13 runners and riders were confirmed days before the 240th edition of the event on Saturday. The mile-and-a-half race carries a prize fund of at least $1.9 million, with the winner claiming just north of $1 million.
Held at Epsom Downs Racecourse every year since 1780, save from the World War years, the race is a rare test in terms of both speed and stamina.
“It is the ultimate test of the 3-year-old thoroughbred,” Phil White, regional director of Jockey Club racecourses, told CNN Sport’s Winning Post in 2018.
“That’s due to the undulations of the ground, and the course itself is unbelievably challenging.”
The tough course features a long uphill drag out of the starting gates, a left-hand bend, a downhill gallop into the straight before a lung-busting uphill finish.
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As well as a blue ribbon in the sporting calendar, the Derby is also one of Britain’s most iconic cultural events.
Since its inception, it has attracted both the upper echelons of English aristocracy – the queen herself has only missed two runnings since 1946 – along with huge crowds made up of every level of society for a colorful day out on the Downs.
The Derby’s long history features the 1913 edition, dubbed the “Suffragette Derby,” when women’s rights campaigner Emily Davidson threw herself under the thundering hooves of King George V’s horse Anmer and died four days later.