Lammtarra joins legends

The Derby: Sheikh's horse shakes the racing world to repay faith of the trainer who was shot dead

LAMMTARRA, racing for only the second time in his life, won a sensational and poignant 216th Derby - the first held on a Saturday since Coronation year - with a blistering swoop under Walter Swinburn that cut down Tamure and Presenting in the final half-furlong, with the hot favourite Pennekamp nowhere.

Sensational not only for the manner of his victory, which smashed the race record, but because he also achieved the almost unheard-of feat of winning the world's premier race on his seasonal debut. And poignant, because last year Lammtarra was in the stable of the late Alex Scott, shot dead last September.

Lammtarra's remarkable triumph provided a magnificent Classic double, after Moonshell's Oaks victory on Friday, for Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai- based Godolphin stable. But the Sheikh's first words after the race were not for himself. He said: "This is a dream come true, but my thoughts are now of Alex. He made this horse early in his career, and was quite convinced he would win the Derby."

The dead trainer's faith in Lammtarra was such that he placed pounds 1,000 at 33-1 for the Derby after the colt won his sole two-year-old race. Bookmakers are not noted for their generosity, but Ladbrokes, who took the wager, waived the death-cancels-bets rule and will send a cheque to Scott's widow tomorrow.

As Court of Honour led the field into the straight at a tremendous pace, it was clear that both Pennekamp and the second favourite, Spectrum, were in trouble. And when 50-1 shot Fahal took the lead and stretched clear three furlongs out, a shock result looked on the cards.

It took Tamure until well inside the final furlong to catch Fahal, with his John Gosden stablemate, Presenting, on the fast ground he loves, thundering at his heels, but neither had any answer to the speed of Lammtarra. The slightly-built chestnut had only three behind him turning into the straight but once Swinburn asked him the question, the horse belied his inexperience and won going away by a length. A suggestion that he brushed Munwar in passing was dismissed by the stewards.

It was an emotional victory for Swinburn, one of Scott's close friends, and, after he passed the post, he rubbed his eyes in disbelief. He said later: "I couldn't stay as close to the pace as I wanted early, and was a long way back at the top of the hill. Turning into the straight I prayed to God - and for Alex - that a gap would come. But the horses in front of me parted like the sea for Moses. I believed in God before, but even more now." It was Swinburn's third Derby victory after Shergar (1981) and Shahrastani (1986).

The statistics tell their own story. Lammtarra's winning time of 2min 32.31sec shattered by a full second-and-a-half Mahmoud's hand-recorded winning time in 1936. The colt is the first product of a Derby winner (Nijinsky) and an Oaks winner (Snow Bride) to win Flat racing's blue riband and was the first since Grand Parade in 1919 to win the Derby on his seasonal debut, and the first since Morston in 1973 to win on his second outing.

After Scott's death, Lammtarra - whose name in Arabic means invisible - was transferred to Sheikh Mohammed's desert base, and the colt's win yesterday was justification of the Sheikh's policy of removing his best horses from Britain to spend their winter in the sun. Lammtarra returned in April to Newmarket, where he is under the care of Saeed bin Suroor, for his European campaign. Lammtarra's seasonal debut was delayed because he contracted a virus in Dubai, and it was always a race against time to get him to the post yesterday.

The records will show that the Sheikh has yet to win the Derby - yesterday Tamure carried his maroon-and-white colours into the runner-up spot for the second successive year - but Lammtarra's magnificent victory, in the green colours of his student nephew Saeed (at 19, the youngest-ever winning owner) was, for him, just as good. The Sheikh, who is crown prince and defence minister of his country as well as the leading racehorse owner in Britain for nine of the past 10 years, said afterwards: "To win with a horse from Dubai has given me as much pleasure as winning four Derbies in my own colours. It has been a marvellous effort by all the Godolphin team, who have worked so hard with an inexperienced horse to win this race."

But there was pain as well as well as pleasure yesterday, as Epsom's switchback course took its toll. Pennekamp (whose disappointed trainer Andre Fabre had some consolation with Sunshack's Coronation Cup victory) and Spectrum both pulled up lame, and Daffaq, who gallantly made the early pace for Munwar and Fahal, broke a knee and had to be put down.

Meanwhile, Peter Savill, who withdrew the winter favourite Celtic Swing from the race, had no regrets about his decision to go for the French Derby: "The ground would have been too fast. I know I was right."

Full details, back page

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£20000 - £21000 per annum: The Jenrick Group: This high quality manufacturer o...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £35000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical ...

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'