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Epsom Derby: Top Five moments

The Derby at Epsom is the premier British Classic of the season and amongst the most feted races in the world.

The Epsom Downs, quirky in nature, are viewed as the ultimate test of equine balance and agility and The Derby is the race that the thoroughbred bloodlines crave the most.

This year's race can be viewed via the bet365 live sports streaming service. Here we take a look back at our Top Five Epsom Derby moments.

Nijinsky heads for Triple Crown glory

Nijinsky – 1970

Nijinsky remains the only horse in the past 80-plus years to win the Triple Crown — the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Epsom Derby and the St Leger at Doncaster.

He was ridden to glory at Epsom by the late, great Lester Piggott in 1970, the fifth of his record nine wins in the race, and provided Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien with what was the third in his tally of six successes in The Derby.

Having won the Guineas at Newmarket in style, Nijinsky had to dig in for his Derby win. French raiders Gyr and Stintino were two of the major dangers on paper and were clear of the field with a furlong-and-a-half to run but as soon as Piggott asked him, Nijinsky drew alongside and, under a drive, pulled clear to win by two-and-a-half-lengths.

Shergar leaves rivals in the shade

Shergar 1981

Ridden by then teenage jockey Walter Swinburn, Shergar was one of the most brilliant Derby winners after he seemingly cruised around Epsom as if it were a piece of track work.

With minimal effort from the saddle he pulled away from his Derby rivals and won by a mammoth 10-lengths in one of the most visually impressive displays the race had ever witnessed.

Such was his dominance, Swinburn was looking over his shoulder with a half-furlong to run for dangers that didn't exist. Sir Michael Stoute had his first Derby winner at the fourth attempt and Shergar would go on to win the Irish Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

He will, of course forever be remembered for being stolen after retiring to his owner the Aga Khan's Ballymany Stud. He was never found and no one was convicted of the crime.

Masterclass from Galileo

Galileo – 2001

The 222nd Epsom Derby was won in tremendous style by 11/4 joint-favourite Galileo for Aidan O'Brien and Mick Kinane.

Though he got 'first run' on his main market rival Golan for Stoute and Pat Eddery, such was the dominance of Galileo it's doubtful there was a tactical scenario in which he'd have been defeated.

Kinane eased him down before the line to register a three-and-a-half-length winning margin, going on to describe the son of Sadler's Wells as the best he had ridden.

This was the first Derby win for O'Brien and, in 2023, the Ballydoyle supremo's record tally of wins stands at nine – the most recent being Serpentine in 2020.

Galileo, of course, went on to become the greatest sire Europe has witnessed. Among the 12-time champion sire's offspring was the mighty Frankel and he died in 2021 at the age of 23 leaving behind a legacy of unprecedented success in the breeding sheds.

Dettori ends Derby jinx in style

Authorized – 2007

Frankie Dettori has been the most recognisable jockey in the world for 30 years. The loveable Italian has been the face of racing but, for a long time, the greatest prize in the sport eluded him.

Dettori had tried and failed on 14 occasions to win the Epsom Derby when he rocked up in 2007 to partner the Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Authorized.

Winner of the Dante at York the previous month, Authorized went off as the 5/4 market leader at Epsom but all pre-race talk inevitably returned to Dettori's 'Derby jinx'.

Dettori's popularity ensured money poured in for Authorized ahead of the race and bookmakers had predicted a £20m payout should the pair win.

Having sat in midfield, Dettori brought his partner to lead two furlongs out and they finished five lengths clear of the field in a commanding win.

"It was like the whole world was shouting over the last 100 yards," Dettori said. "I was full of emotion. I had to pinch myself."

Barzalona calls it early in close finish

Pour Moi – 2011

Legendary French trainer Andre Fabre claimed the only Epsom Derby win of his career to date in 2011 when Pour Moi came from a long way back to win in a head-bobber.

He flew home on the outside and just flashed by 25/1 outsider Treasure Beach for Aidan O'Brien and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Royal runner Carlton House – the favourite – for a famous win.

What made it remarkable was the outrageously early celebration from a 19-year-old Mickael Barzalona in the saddle.

He had come from last place turning for home and still had five of the 13 runners to pass a furlong from home but Pour Moi was getting there with every stride.

Having his first Derby ride, Barzalona stood up in his irons punching the air well before they flashed past the Epsom winning post as commentator Richard Hoiles screamed he "celebrates as if he's won the Derby, but the judge may be needed."

The photo was called for and it showed Pour Moi in front by a head – Barzalona was proved right but it was a whole lot closer than his celebration had merited!

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