City of Troy silences the doubters for Aidan O'Brien's tenth Derby win

By Elise Hamersley

City of Troy silenced the doubters by storming to a redemptive Derby triumph on hallowed Epsom turf.

The champion juvenile delivered an awesome performance at the hands of Ryan Moore to claim a record-extending tenth Derby win for master trainer Aidan O’Brien.

In the same fashion as stablemate Auguste Rodin 12 months ago, City of Troy bounced back from a heavy defeat at the 2000 Guineas, proving O’Brien is capable of producing magic time and again.

The pundits may have doubted the three-year-old Justify colt but O’Brien was unwavering in his belief and hailed City Of Troy as the best Derby winner he has trained - some compliment considering the company he keeps among that list.

He said: “Sport and life can take all the turns; there’s only so much you can control.

“You can get forgotten very quick and everyone has their opinions. Some had negative, some had positive.

“He had a lot to lose today by running.

CITY OF TROY ridden by Ryan Moore wins the BETFRED DERBY (GROUP 1) at EPSOM DERBY DAY 1/6/24
Photograph by Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723
CITY OF TROY ridden by Ryan Moore wins the BETFRED DERBY (GROUP 1) at EPSOM DERBY DAY 1/6/24 Photograph by Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723

“[There is] no doubt [he is the best Derby winner he’s trained].

“He has the cruise, the balance, he quickens and he stays. He’s an incredible horse. Justify [colts] are Galileos with more class, they are unbelievably exciting for us.”

Since City of Troy burst onto the scene as an unbeaten two-year-old, Ballydoyle and connections have not been shy about their confidence in his potential.

O’Brien has previously said "there is no doubt he is the best two-year-old I've trained” and praised his "unnatural ability".

Comparisons even to the generational talent Frankel were made.

Finishing dead last at Newmarket may have dented those hopes but the Tipperary trainer humbly accepted responsibility and gave an insight into the process that has led him to this victory.

He said: “We had to make so many tweaks to get back to where we are today.

“We knew the Guineas went totally wrong, I made mistakes training him and that’s the bottom line.

“I left him a bit too fresh, and he went into the stalls and exploded – it was the one stone that we never looked under. We never expected that to happen.

“It took at least two weeks until we were at the stage where we could put him into the stalls again.

“We put a fitbit on him and true as day his heart rate went way above 240bpm standing in the stalls so that was for us then we knew what happened.”

While O’Brien gives credit to those around him, Moore, who has now ridden four Derby winners, explained it is more than talent that sets the prolific trainer apart.

Moore said: “It was hard to know what would happen today, but I was sure we still had the best horse.

“He was going to win very easily, though he was a bit unsure with the loose horse in front of him.

“He quickened well and you have to be delighted with what he’s done today.

“[O’Brien] has been breaking records for so long now it’s incredible.

“There is no one like him. It’s more than just being a genius and attention to detail and dedication – there’s a lot more than that.

“Everyone works hard in this game, but I have never known anyone that works harder than him.

“It’s not all down to brilliance it’s work as well, time and effort.”

Until the very last moment, O’Brien’s attention to detail was on display at Epsom, adjusting the saddle and fastening City of Troy’s girth himself in the parade ring.

It’s clear this trainer writes his own fairytales and like all good stories, they’re even better the second time around.