Pour Moi came flying down the center of the course to snatch victory away from Treasure Beach at the wire to claim the $2,044,800 Investec English Derby (Eng-I) by a head at Epsom June 4.
The victory by the Irish-bred son of Montjeu provided both the legendary French trainer Andre Fabre and 19-year-old French jockey Mickael Barzalona with their first wins in the English classic. Barzalona captured the Derby with his first mount in the race, while Fabre’s best prior finish was the fifth-place finish by Visindar in 2006.
Much of the pre-race attention focused upon Carlton House, the impressive winner of the Totesport Dante Stakes (Eng-II) on May 12. The son of Street Cry was favored to provide Queen Elizabeth II with her first victory in the classic.
In addition, there was also some pre-race drama involving jockey Kieren Fallon as to whether or not he would be allowed to ride the Aidan O’Brien-trained Recital. Fallon had been expected to ride the Ed Dunlop trainee, Native Khan, a gray colt he had guided to victory in the Craven Stakes (Eng-III). Fallon had signed a contract to ride the son of Azamour with the colt’s owner, Ibrahim Araci, which stated that the jockey would ride Araci’s horses when possible, and that he would not ride against the horse (Native Khan) in any race.
Earlier in the week, Fallon decided to switch mounts and ride Recital, who he had ridden to victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (Ire-II). Araci filed suit, claiming that the former champion rider was in breach of contract. The verdict was announced the morning of the race, when an appeals court determined that Fallon did breach his contract. He was banned from riding in the Derby; jockey Pat Smullen took over the mount aboard Recital, while Johnny Murtagh rode Native Khan.
Pour Moi, off at 4-1 odds, broke somewhat slowly and had to be steadied at the start as Memphis Tennessee, one of four Aidan O’Brien trainees in the race, went to the front to set the pace. The leader was followed closely by outsiders Marhaba Malyoon and Castlemorris King, with Pisco Sour and Masked Marvel tracking them. Treasure Beach raced in mid-pack along with Ocean War and Native Khan.
Carlton House, the 5-2 favorite in the race, missed the break and was settled toward the rear of the field by jockey Ryan Moore. They were joined by at the back by Seville and Recital. Pour Moi trailed the field early.
Memphis Tennessee, ridden by Joseph O’Brien, opened up a six-length lead after the first two furlongs. Marhaba Malyoon raced in second and Treasure Beach edged closer into third.
As the field rounded Tattenham Corner and headed into the straight, Memphis Tennessee continued to wing it on the front end. But stablemate Treasure Beach, at 25-1, and jockey Colm O’Donoghue began cutting into his lead, moving into second and setting their sights on the leader.
Carlton House, swung to the outside by Moore, made up several lengths as he bore down on the leaders. Pour Moi was hot on the heels of Carlton House, tracking the favorite for several strides before swinging even further to the outside for a clear run to the wire.
With two furlongs left to run, Treasure Beach pulled alongside Memphis Tennessee while Carlton House advanced into third. Pour Moi was rolling on the far outside, but still had several lengths to make up on the leaders.
As the horses neared the wire, Treasure Beach finally wrested away the lead from a tiring Memphis Tennessee. Moore had Carlton House in an all-out drive, with the pair taking over second and pulling to within less than a length of the lead.
Treasure Beach found a bit more, though, spurting away from Carlton House and appearing to have the race won. Out in the center of the course, however, Pour Moi was flying under Barzalona and was just able to get up in the final jump to snatch the victory by a head.
Treasure Beach held off Carlton House by three-quarters of a length to claim second, with Memphis Tennessee holding on for fourth. Final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:34.54 over the good turf course.
Regardless of the extremely close finish, Barzalona began celebrating the victory even before the horses hit the wire, standing bolt upright in the saddle and waving his whip. As a result of his exuberance, Barzalona received a one-day suspension for excessive use of the whip. In addition, he received a stern warning from the stewards regarding his celebrating before the wire.
Pour Moi, who races in the navy blue colors of Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, improved his record to three wins from five starts. He entered the Derby off of an impressive victory in the 10-furlong Prix Greffulhe (Fr-II) at Saint-Cloud May 7.
Winning trainer Fabre told reporters afterwards, “It is such a pleasure to win this race with my young jockey in front of a big crowd. I couldn’t be happier. The plan now is for a summer break and to aim him at the Arc, subject to the owners agreeing.”
A jubilant Barzalona said, “It’s fantastic; absolutely amazing. It took Frankie Dettori 15 years to win the race and I’ve done it on my first ride.”
Carlton House’s connections were understandably disappointed afterwards. Trainer Michael Stoute, who confirmed that his colt lost a shoe within the closing stages of the race, told reporters, “He’s run very well but things just didn’t go right. He’s still a high-class horse, and he will have a big day.”
Pour Moi was bred in Ireland by Lynch Bages. He became the third Derby winner for his sire, Montjeu, who also sired Motivator (2005) and Authorized (2007). Pour Moi is out of the unraced Darshaan mare, Gwynn. He hails from the immediate family of 1995 Derby winner Lammtarra.