Derby winning jockey Seamie Heffernan has admitted that he didn't think he would have too many more chances of riding in a Derby let alone going on to try and win it, but after now landing the prestigious Classic race he has said it is the highlight of his career.
The 46 year old has landed 30 Group 1 winners during his career all under the master trainer Aidan O'Brien and owes a lot of his success to the Ballydoyle handler.
A veteran of the sport, Heffernan does not have many years left in the tank in comparison to some of the younger jockeys in the racing scene but the experience he holds is invaluable and it is what makes him a big part of the O'Brien team.
(Credit Racing Post) Anthony Van Dyck was Heffernan's 13th ride in the Investec Derby and whilst looking back on what is such a special moment in his career he said: “I’ve been very fortunate to ride so many big-race winners but the Derby is the race every jockey wants to win, and to do so after years of trying means an awful lot.
“I had twice finished second in the race, on Fame And Glory and At First Sight, and also finished third in it on Idaho. I suppose I was running out of time as far as winning the Derby is concerned, so it’s very special to have done it.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given by Aidan and all the owners over the years.”
Whilst Heffernan was celebrating first time rider in the Derby Chris Hayes was left heartbroken after finishing a narrow second on board the Kevin Prendergrast trained Madhmoon.
The three year old stepped up to the Derby trip of 1 mile 4f for the first time in his career and revelled in the experience finishing just half a length down to Anthony Van Dyck to leave Hayes with a huge amount of mixed emotions as to what could have been.
(Credit Racing Post) The rider said on Sunday: "I was still a bit sick to be honest with you but I was very proud of the team and the horse and I am just privileged that I got the opportunity to ride a horse like him in the Derby.
"A furlong out I knew I was going to beat Ryan [Moore, on Sir Dragonet] but he just got a little bit unbalanced. I would have loved to shut the door on Seamie but he might have beaten me anyway."
The Irish Derby looks set to be the next contest for the Epsom Derby winner AnthonyVan Dyck and also a renewal against some his rivals on Saturday is on the cards.
The favourite for las weekends Classic was Sir Dragonet and O'Brien was over the moon with the colts fifth placed finish which reads only finishing a length behind the eventual winner.
O'Brien said: "Sir Dragonet ran an incredible race and will have a learned a lot. He was a baby going into the race and he’s a horse to really look forward to for the rest of the season."