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Global Weekly Review: Sad tale of an injured Derby winner

J A McGrath

An injury to any Derby winner is bad news, but when he is the latest of the 238 colts to have achieved Epsom fame, and his forced retirement comes mid-season, there is also a feeling of loss.

The party has only just begun, and the glittering star of the occasion has already left the building. A worthy, if evenly-matched, Classic generation (middle-distance) has lost its early leader.

To many, Wings of Eagles, was brilliant in winning at Epsom. Although handicappers cautiously gave a preliminary low marking in their assessment of the Epsom result.

But it should be noted that Wings Of Eagles was reminiscent of his sire Pour Moi in taking the G1 Investec Derby with a spectacular (near) last-to-first finishing burst, and that he was brave in finishing third to stablemate Capri in Saturday's G1 Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

A post-race veterinary check showed that Wings of Eagles had suffered a bad fracture to his near-fore sesamoid, presumably in the heat of the Irish Derby climax. Retirement was inevitable.

Unfortunately, it means there can be no subsequent direct evidence on which to judge his merit as a racehorse, as had also been the case with his sire.

It now rests with horses such as Cracksman (2nd in Irish Derby) and Waldgeist (4th) to provide the strands of form that will bring together the Classic horses from England, Ireland and France, with much swinging on what they do in the second half of the season.

The volume of racing in Europe at the weekend was again high. Darley sire Dubawi took the opportunity to pull off an international G1 double, with Zarak in the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in Paris and Nezwaah in the G1 Pretty Polly Stakes in Ireland.

Nezwaah, in the colours of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, displayed an impressive turn-of-foot at the end of a mile and a quarter, which appears a perfect credential for a crack at Goodwood's G1 Nassau Stakes on August 5.

Two Godolphin wins of note at the weekend were Home Of The Brave in the G3 Criterion Stakes on Newmarket's July Course and Strathspey in the G2 Prix de Malleret at Saint-Cloud. Both are destined for better things in the second half of the year.