As the Derby is regarded as the most prestigious race in the calender, I thought I’d look at some of the most exciting ones and give my Top 10 based on overall contribution to the industry so here they are.
1- Galileo – Out of Sadlers Wells and Urban Sea, has to take the number one slot not for the easy way he won the Derby, but for the legacy he has created as a sire of sires. Galileo has Sired 3 Derby winners in New Approach, Ruler Of The World and Australia. And has also sired Gleneagles and Frankel who both won the 2000 Guineas.
2 – Sea The Stars – Out of Cape Cross and Urban Sea, has to take 2nd place on the list, not a showboat type but Sea The Stars did just enough to win the race, showing an intelligence beyond his years to not waste any energy in running, Sea The Stars also won the 2000 Guineas and the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe. He has also become a top sire his most notable offspring are Harzand, Sea The Moon, Taghrooda and Cloth of Stars.
3 – Nijinski – Out of Northern Dancer and Flaming Page, most would have Nijinski in the number one slot. He may have won the triple crown in 1970 by winning the 2000 Guineas the Derby and the St Leger. But has to settle for 3rd slot on my list.
4 – Shergar -Out of Great Nephew and Sharmeen, Is another horse that some would have a bit higher up this list. He may have won his Derby by 10 length, but due to unforeseen circumstances disappeared without trace 2 years later. I’m pretty sure if he was not taken he would be up there with Galileo fighting for top slot.
5 – Harzand -Winner of both the Epsom Derby and the Irish Derby, thoroughly deserves a place in the top 5 on my list. Out of Sea The Stars and Hazariya was retired to stud at the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud at the start of 2017.
6 – Nashwan- Out of Blushing Groom and Height Of Fashion, Is another that some may have higher up on the list, mainly due to a fantastic year in 1989. He won the 2,000 Guineas, The Derby, The Eclipse Stakes and The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, all in 1989 and was retired in September that year after suffering defeat in the Prix Niel. Sadly Nashwan is no longer with us after suffering complications during surgery on a leg injury in 2002.
7 – High Chaparral- Out of Sadlers Wells and Kasora, may only have raced 13 times in total but won 10 of those and they include The Ballysax Stakes, Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby Stakes and The Breeders Cup Turf all in 2002. He won his 2nd Breeders Cup Turf in 2003 along with The Royal Whip Stakes and The Irish Champion Stakes, has to settle for 7th place on this list although was an exceptional horse.
8 – Camelot- Out of Montjeu and Tarfah, and winner of the 2,000 Guineas and the Epsom Derby as well as The Irish Derby in 2012. Has to settle for 8th place on my list due to the quality of the horses before him.
9 – Mill Reef- Out of Never Bend and Milan Mill, is another exceptional horse that most would have higher up on this list, he may have won some very important races in his career including – The Coventry Stakes, The Gimcrack Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes in 1970. But it was 1971 we saw the best from Mill Reef he won The Greenham Stakes, Epsom Derby, The Eclipse Stakes, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe, capping off a remarkable season.
10 – Pour Moi- Out of Montjeu and Gwynn, lightly raced but won The Prix Greffulhe and The Derby in 2011 and became the first French trained Derby winner since Empery in 1976. The horse was rested after the Derby for a crack at the Prix De L’Arc De Triomphe in October 2011, but due to sustaining an injury in late August was retired and became the first Derby winner to not run again since Secreto in 1984.
Well that’s my personal list of what I see as the most influential horses to have won the Derby, I know some may disagree with the order they appear on the list but it’s the overall contribution to the sport that influenced my placings.
Written by Charlie Mcgreevy for 3Furlongs Out.
Sources of information include Wikipedia and The Racing post online