It would be an exaggeration to suggest that Padraig Beggy became an overnight sensation when winning the 2017 Investec Derby on Wings Of Eagles but it is safe to say plenty of racegoers were not familiar with him.
Riding the apparent Aidan O’Brien fifth string in the race – Wings Of Eagles stated 40-1 – Beggy came with a fantastic late surge to take the spoils. On Betfair, his mount nudged 599-1 in-running.
“The main thing is that you are riding for Aidan O’Brien in colours like these – you don’t worry about the price because they always have a chance,” said Beggy. “I’ve rode for a lot of trainers but Aidan looks at a horse in a different way to everybody else. He is there night, noon and morning, he looks at them head to toe.”
The 31-year-old is part of the team at Ballydoyle but was having just his second ride in Britain in the past five years and, overall, just his ninth winner in Britain. In Ireland last year he rode one winner from 66 rides, and just one from 26 the year before that.
“I started off riding in Ireland then went and rode in the North of England for a little while and then I was down South for a fair bit in Australia,” he said. “I then came back home and got the job in Ballydoyle and I’ve put in a fair bit of work and I’ve got a reward like this.”
Beggy tested positive for cocaine whilst riding in Australia and served a one-year riding ban. However, he was delighted to have put that past misdemeanour behind him at Epsom.
He said: “I got into a little bit of trouble in Australia – it was a little mistake and look, I was knocked down and I had to come back fighting and I have proved that today so I am very happy. I gave a positive test for cocaine, I had to pick myself back up there and I had either had to get back riding there or come back to Ireland and I decided to come home as I had done well in Ireland, not in Pattern races, but I had done well.
“I was in Australia and came home to work for Aidan in early January and I’ve been there every day since. You are riding the best horses day in day out and look, the likes of that colt [Wings Of Eagles], I would never get the leg up on a big strong, three-year-old colt like him without being at Ballydoyle, so I’ve won the Derby!
“I can’t say much more. I got into Ballydoyle and Aidan had a chat with me and said if I keep working, that someday we will repay you and there you go! I don’t think he meant the Derby!
“I know I can ride a horse. I’m far from cocky but I’m confident. I wasn’t worried about riding in the Derby one bit and it helps that I knew the horse I was getting on. Another person might have been shaking but I just wanted to get down to the start and get back underway as quick as possible.
Beggy got his interest in racing from going to Fairyhouse when he was younger.
His father used to take me and school was “not my thing” so he was sent me to an apprentice school and he was apprenticed to Kevin Prendergast and had a lot of success.
He said: “I worked very hard but you need to be with big trainers so I then went abroad to go travelling but I’m happy I came home now.
“It means the world to me. I’ve rode winners but not big Classic winners and I thought those type of horses had gone by me until Aidan started to give me these sort of rides.”
QIPCO British Champions Series Victories
BCS Career statistics
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