Ten years on: remembering Authorized’s brilliant Derby

It is the pinnacle of horse racing, the race that has lured owners into the Sport of Kings for over 230 years.

The Epsom Derby is the ultimate test of a horse, a race that legendary Italian breeder Federico Tesio identified as pivotal to the development of the Thoroughbred. Ten years ago it produced a winner of the highest quality, a colt whose dominance over his peers confirmed his place as one of the race’s best winners.

When Authorized streaked to a five-length victory in the Epsom Derby on that sun-drenched afternoon in June 2007, it marked an achievement of immense magnitude on many levels for his connections, not least his owners Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, who were looking to win the race at the first attempt and had only a handful of horses in training at the time.

It was also a much anticipated first victory in the race for Frankie Dettori, whose ebullient celebrations post race live long in the memory.

For trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam, it came 15 years after his tough colt Dr Devious had denied St Jovite to take the race just weeks on from competing in the Kentucky Derby.

“The dream has come true and Dettori did a fine job,”
said Saleh AI Homaizi after the race. “Peter has also done a great job with the preparation and brought the horse here perfectly. “Everyone in racing has dreams of winning the Derby but you don’t know how good it feels until you do. I feel blessed.

Authorized, who had won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on only his second start as a two-year-old, was the beacon of only a handful of horses in training during that era for Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, and followed in the aftermath of another star for the pair in Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Araafa.

Both were bought at auction by Tony Nerses; Authorized cost a relatively inexpensive 95,000gns as a foal while Araafa was purchased for 150,000gns as a yearling.
Indeed, today Authorized remains the only Derby winner to have remained in the same ownership after changing hands as a foal.

Authorized went on to defeat older horses in the Group 1 Juddmonte International at York and duly ended his three-year-old season as the Cartier Champion three-year-old colt. He was also crowned the outstanding three-year-old colt of 2007 by the Racehorse Owners’ Association.

The son of Montjeu retired to stand at stud under the Darley umbrella and has to date sired four Group 1 winners led by Seal Of Approval and current Australian star Hartnell. Another Group 1-winning son, Complacent, stands for Darley in New Zealand.

Authorized’s brilliant Derby victory ten years ago this week marked the beginning of a highly successful association for Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar with the Sport of Kings. Ten years on, they have campaigned 19 stakes winners in Europe, including Sayif, Ajaya, Hamoody and Princess Noor, and are in the midst of another outstanding season thanks to their homebred dual Group 1 winner Decorated Knight among others.

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