Serpentine ready to prove merit of Derby victory

Fri 11 Sep 2020

Impressive Investec Derby winner Serpentine finally gets the chance to prove his Classic success was no fluke in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris.

Aidan O’Brien’s Galileo colt turned up at Epsom an unconsidered outsider, having broken his maiden tag only seven days previously.

However, given a bold front-running ride by Emmet McNamara, he powered on to win by more five lengths from Khalifa Sat – and has not been seen in competitive action since.

“We always thought he was a very smart middle-distance horse, and even though he only had one run at two – and the run looked very ordinary – we were very happy with his work at home,” said O’Brien.

“He was a horse that was very relentless in his work and would go an even, strong gallop and would not surrender – and that’s the way he’s always been.

“We had to give him a good break (after the Derby), and he’s done very well – physically he’s really rounded off since then. It will be a run to get him started back, and we’ll see where we go after that.

“Obviously a race like the Arc or something like that would be possible – but either way, we’re hoping we might have him for next year.”

While the validity of the Derby form was questioned in the aftermath, O’Brien is adamant Serpentine was the winner on merit.

He added: “He’s a solid horse, and I wouldn’t be fooled by what anyone thinks about Epsom – whatever race he runs in, if he makes the running you just need to go and follow him, because he just doesn’t come back. He’s relentless, and that’s the way he is.

“I heard everyone saying about Epsom and him getting a clear lead and all that kind of stuff, and he did – but I don’t think there was anyone pulling or dragging too much to stay back off him, that’s the way he is.

“He’s solid, you don’t have to hide anything about him. He’s very happy to go a strong gallop – and if he’s not able to get to the front that will be all the better for him, because that means the gallop will be good and strong and he’ll probably even be better doing that rather than having to make his own running all the time.”

Serpentine is joined at ParisLongchamp on Sunday by a pair of stable companions in Nobel Prize and Mogul, while British hopes are carried by Ed Walker’s Derby fifth English King – the mount of Frankie Dettori – and Highland Chief, who was supplemented by Paul and Oliver Cole.

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