Jockey Padraig Beggy has resurrected his career in spectacular fashion, winning the Derby at Epsom less than two years after serving a ban for a drug charge in Australia.
Beggy steered the Aidan O’Brien-trained outsider Wings Of Eagles to win the Classic on Saturday (Sunday AEST).
Having contemplated hanging up his riding boots before finding his way to Ballydoyle, the 31-year-old was thankful he decided otherwise as he got the 40-1 chance home to give O’Brien a sixth Derby success.
Favourite Cracksman took over a furlong (200m) out but was joined and passed by chief market rival Cliffs Of Moher under under Ryan Moore.
But Cliffs Of Moher had no answer when Wings Of Eagles shot past his stablemate to win by three-quarters of a length with Cracksman a further neck away in third.
“I dreamt of it fairly young, but it is hard to get on the good ones. I nearly gave it up,” Beggy said.
“This means the world. The main thing for me is that my family are home watching this. I’m thrilled, but they will be even more thrilled.
“I’d nearly given up on the big days, but Aidan O’Brien has made it happen.
“It’s brilliant. I will go down in history that I have won the Derby and that is good enough. I will be remembered for something.”
Beggy was given a 12 month ban by Racing NSW stewards in late 2014 for testing positive to a banned substance.
“I got into a bit of trouble in Australia and made a mistake,” he said.
“It is something that I’ve got to put behind me. I was knocked down then and had to pick myself up and come back fighting, and today I think I’ve proved that.”
As for O’Brien, he has not ruled out the prospect of the stablemates clashing again in the Irish Derby at the Curragh on July 1.
“We thought he (Wings Of Eagles) was a very nice horse last year,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier, and obviously I’m delighted with Cliffs Of Moher but he’s a bit of a baby and his next run will be something to look forward to.
“Ryan’s horse got there and just got tired, but Padraig gave the winner a great ride. He had him in a lovely rhythm, nice and balanced.
“Paddy is a world-class rider. He has a great mind and is always very aware.
“I’m delighted for him. I can’t tell you how delighted we are to have him working with us.”