Grey Swallow Takes Flight in Irish Derby

Grey Swallow caught favorite North Light in the final 200 yards and won the Irish Derby (Ire-I) at The Curragh on Sunday.

Sent off at odds of 10-1, Grey Swallow won by a half-length and gave trainer Dermot Weld his second Irish Derby victory. The trainer won with Zagreb eight years ago.

``I knew he had the speed to beat them if he stayed the trip and that's how I rode him,'' winning jockey Pat Smullen said. ``When we started to make our challenge I knew that we would be able to outspeed them. I'm more happy for him than I am for me.''

North Light, the 8-11 favorite, was trying to complete an English-Irish derby double. North Light, trained by Michael Stoute, was ridden by Kieren Fallon. The winning time for the 1 1/2-mile Classic was 2:28.7 on a course rated good to firm.

Tycoon, one of five horses in the field trained by Aidan O'Brien, rallied late and finished third as a 150-1 outsider, two lengths behind the winner. Kentucky-bred Rule of Law was fourth, followed by Let The Lion Roar (5th), Book Of Kings (6), Moscow Ballet (7), Five Dynasties (8), Cobra (9)and Percussionist (10).

Grey Swallow raced in mid-pack as Moscow Ballet made the pace, vying for fifth in the straight before making headway two furlongs from the wire. He challenged North Light, who took the lead about three furlongs from home, and Fallon inside the final furlong and edged in front with 150 yards to go.

Mrs. Rochelle Quinn owns the Irish-bred Grey Swallow, a gray son of Daylami–Style of Life (The Minstrel). Grey Swallow finished third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winning Bachelor Duke, in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) May 22. He was fourth in the English equivalent of the same race this season as well. The Irish Derby was his first race beyond a mile.

"I've always believed in this horse," Weld told Racing Post. "There were doubts about him staying a mile and a half, but he worked superbly the other day and I knew I had him in good form.

"This was a very good Derby and an extra special win as he was bred by my mother, who also owns part of him."

Stoute wasn't unhappy about finishing second.

"He ran a big race. He's only been beaten half a length and you can't be too disappointed. He ran right to the line," he said. "I've got no excuses today."