Ruby Walsh: The Clock Says That The Best Horse Won The Epsom Derby

Ruby reckons it was a remarkable performance form Serpentine - no matter what anyone else says.

Ruby Walsh


Only time will tell whether Serpentine was the best horse in last Saturday’s Epsom Derby. When you look at the clock and at the fractions and you take in as much information as you can in the cold light of day, the best horse may well have won the Derby.

The more you look at it, the fact that none of English King, Kameko, Mogul or Russian Emperor could get by Amhran Na Bhfiann tells its own story. Even if you take Serpentine out of the race, would you have said that the big guns are too far behind the second and third placed horses in Khalifa Sat and Amhran Na Bhfiann? I wouldn’t think so.

Serpentine Epsom Derby 2020

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You could have thrown a blanket over Amhran Na Bhfiann, Kameko, English King, Mogul and Russian Emperor. Whether they weren’t good enough or not, the fact of the matter is that Emmett McNamara gave the winner a very good ride. The clock says that as well.

Maybe it was just a case that Serpentine was the overlooked horse in the race and nothing else. Apart from English King, who got a slow start, there were no hard-luck stories in the race. Amhran Na Bhfiann raced in third for most of the race and finished in the same spot.

The rest couldn’t get by him.

I know English King broke left and gave away ground at the start. Oisin Murphy was conscious about whether Kameko would stay the trip or not. Personally, I wasn’t sold on Mogul beforehand.

I know Serpentine did poach a big lead and people might say that I’m talking rubbish, but if you want to break it down, take the winner out of the race, look at the placed horses. It makes you think that the best horse won.

If you take as much data out of the race as you possibly can, along with watching it a few times, I reckon you’ll come around to the way of thinking that the best horse won. Emmett McNamara rode the perfect race.


He went a good even gallop early on, but he then started to build from the 6f marker onwards. He didn’t set sail for the finish line, he built it up from 6f to 5f to 4f to 3f and he was flat out from there onwards.

Now, he did tire as he got inside the last two furlongs but it was really good riding. Both Serpentine and Emmett McNamara deserve plenty of credit. If they all lined up in the future at some stage, I’d be siding with Serpentine to beat them again.

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What do you think?