• Quote: ‘It’s a bit surreal – I can’t believe it’, jockey Emmet McNamara
  • Neither could punters!

By Andrew Atkinson

The 2020 Derby will go down in history, not for the race being run behind closed doors due to COVID-19, but moreso for the shock result – and placings – of the Classic at Epsom on July 4.

Serpentine, 25-1, Khalifa Sat 50-1 and Amhran Na Bhfiann 66-1, a Trifecta that returned odds of 56,000-1 on the Tote, came home 1, 2, 3, in the 13 runners field.

Kameko was fourth and English King, fromthehorsesmouth.info selection, finished strongly in fifth.

Aidan O’Brien trained Serpentine was ridden by jockey Emmet McNamara: “I got a little bit of a freebie. All I could hear was the horse breathing. He was in a good rhythm, relaxed, and I couldn’t hear a thing around me.

“I didn’t want to be looking. I knew I was a few clear. It’s a bit surreal – I can’t believe it,” said Emmett, who gained a 5 1/2 length victory.

Neither could punters.

McNamara, Ireland’s champion apprentice jockey in 2008 – riding his ninth mount of 2020 – had not rode a winner in nine months: “Things are very tough in Ireland – in terms of getting rides – but thankfully, Aidan knows I’m riding out every day and I’m fit as a fiddle.

“So when a race like this pops up and he’s got a few extra runners, he seems to give me a couple of spins.”

O’Brien saddled six runners in the £500,000 Derby,  with Serpentine the Ballydoyle trainer’s eighth success in the race: “We try to give every horse the best chance of winning – we try to ride them all accordingly,” said O’Brien, who also saddled third Amhran Na Bhfiann, under WilliamBuick.

“Emmet was very happy to go forward and William, on Amhran Na Bhfiann was happy to go forward too.

“Emmet judged the pace really well – he knew that he was a horse that was going to get every yard of a mile-and-a-half.”

Images Epsom Park Racecourse Twitter

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