Derby Greats: Five of the best Epsom winners
2009 Derby winner Sea The Stars went on to win the Arc in an undefeated season on the Flat
"After a promising fourth on his racecourse debut, Sea The Stars went unbeaten in eight subsequent starts, adding the Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe to his Classic double. His Timeform comment includes the accolade 'an outstanding colt, one of the best of all time'."
Timeform reflect on five of the most memorable Epsom Derby winners from the last 20 years
Sea The Stars - 2009 - Timeform Rating 140 (End of year)
Twelve months ago Sea The Stars became the first horse since Nashwan in 1989, and only the second since Nijinsky, to win both the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby. Judged strictly on the form-book, Sea The Stars' Epsom performance didn't quite match his other efforts in his immaculate season of six Group 1 victories, but he won comfortably, standing out with how he travelled and almost back within himself by the line as he beat Fame And Glory by a length and three quarters. John Oxx's colt led home an Irish whitewash, with Aidan O'Brien-trained runners finishing a remarkable second, third, fourth and fifth. After a promising fourth on his racecourse debut, Sea The Stars went unbeaten in eight subsequent starts, adding the Juddmonte International, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe to his Classic double. His Timeform comment includes the accolade 'an outstanding colt, one of the best of all time'.
New Approach - 2008 - Timeform Rating 132
For many, New Approach's Derby success will forever be remembered for his trainer's insistence just a fortnight earlier that the horse was not going to run. But that threatens to overshadow the merit of Jim Bolger's colt, who won decisively on the day despite a marked failure to settle in the early stages. He was eventually anchored behind the majority of the field, but, once in line for home, a combination of luck and daring saw him weave across to the far rail, from where he beat Tartan Bearer by half a length. Timeform's champion juvenile in 2008, when his gains included the Dewhurst, the Derby was to prove the first of a trio of top level successes in New Approach's three-year-old campaign, as he added the Irish Champion Stakes and the English equivalent.
Galileo - 2001 - Timeform Rating 134
Galileo was the last three-year-old colt to complete the Derby & King George double and his Derby victory was achieved in most impressive fashion, showing a rare turn of foot to beat 2,000 Guineas winner Golan (who himself won the following year's King George) by three-and-a-half-lengths. His subsequent King George victory showcased more earthy qualities as he had to dig deep to see off the top-class Fantastic Light by two lengths. The latter gained his revenge over two furlongs shorter in Galileo's only subsequent European outing (well-beaten sixth in Breeders' Cup Classic) in the Irish Champion Stakes. A fluent mover, Galileo has subsequently proved a stallion of considerable repute, sire of both Midas Touch and Cape Blanco of this year's Ballydoyle-trained Classic crop.
Sinndar - 2000 - Timeform Rating 134
If ever a horse embodied the Timeform description 'tough, game and genuine' it was Sinndar, who carried all before him in the millennium season. He won the Derby by a length from Sakhee (who subsequently put up scintillating performances in the 2001 Juddmonte International and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe), with subsequent Group 1 winners Beat Hollow and Best Of The Bests well beaten back in third and fourth. He went on to take the Irish Derby by nine lengths, the Prix Niel by eight and his own Arc by one and a half lengths from Egyptband. In similar vein to Sea The Stars, Sinndar was handled immaculately by John Oxx.
Generous - 1991 - Timeform Rating 135
As Timeform's Racehorses of 1991 reflected, in the space of 53 days and three races Generous raised his status to that of a sporting wonder. 'Generous first, daylight second' was the story of Britain's two biggest middle-distance events, the Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, which he won by five and seven lengths respectively. For good measure, in between Generous beat the Prix du Jockey-Club winner Suave Dancer by three lengths at the Curragh in the Irish Derby. Before he ran at Epsom, few could have envisaged that he would develop into one of the finest middle-distance horses for 40 years. His two-year-old career yielded three wins from six starts, albeit a 50/1 Dewhurst victory amongst them. Yet his performance on Derby day was outstanding, even by classic standards, as he pulled clear of subsequent St James's Palace Stakes winner Marju, with third-placed Star of Gdansk a further seven lengths in arrears.
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