Social Distancing Derby Day Delivers Drama in Spades

4th July 2020

A remarkable day's racing took centre stage at Epsom as viewers were treated to a blockbuster fixture that featured two Classics on the rescheduled Investec Derby Day.

The Epsom card started off with some speedy juveniles contesting the Woodcote Stakes, a contest won last season by European champion two-year-old Pinatubo. This year saw the race go the way of the undefeated Twaasol; who showed a good attitude to confirm the promise his debut success at Windsor earlier in June had suggested.

Then it was the turn of the older horses to take top billing in the Investec Surrey Stakes. Seven-year-old Safe Voyage showed very nimbly that age is no barrier in this game as he took the spoils, staying on well to collar long-time leader Shine So Bright in the final furlong.

It was also a landmark 1000th career winner for veteran trainer John Quinn.

22/1 shot Sky Defender went on to cause a big surprise in the Investec Handicap next, before the card kicked into overdrive with the 241st running of the Investec Oaks. The Fillies’ Classic had been billed as something of a two horse race in the lead-up to the race, with 1000 Guineas winner Love heading the marketing against the well-punted Frankly Darling.

Love would however conquer all – in truly breathtaking style no less – as she powered her way up the straight to a scintillating nine length victory ahead of stablemate Ennistymon.

The win in the Oaks meant she’s now claimed the first two legs of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, a trip to Doncaster for the St Leger would be the final hurdle between her and Triple Crown immortality.

A little over an hour later it was the turn of the colts to tackle the daunting 12 furlong Classic course. The race will likely go down as one of the strangest renewals of the great Classic in it’s 240 year history.

Serpentine, a colt that only won his first race a week ago, broke smartly and under very little duress was able to gather a soft lead at the head of the field. With all of the most-fancied runners near the back of a stretched out pack, Serpentine and Emmet McNamara gathered a head of steam rounding Tattenham Corner, stretching some 15 lengths clear entering the straight.

Viewers anticipating the front-runner running out of petrol were left stunned as he simply kept finding more to win by a comfortable six lengths. The first 3 home were giant odds of 25/1, 50/1 and 66/1 – a huge upset by anyone standards.