Epsom: Pour Moi is French for victory
Mikael Barzalona, the 19-year-old crown prince of French jockeyship, produced an astonishing late burst from Pour Moi to give France its first win in the Blue Riband since 1976, dashing the hopes of patriots and punters alike who had backed the Queen's horse Carlton House to be 5-2 favourite.
It was a truly amazing performance by Barzalona who seemed to have let Pour Moi get too far behind. The early running had been made by an even younger jockey, 17-year-old Jospeh O'Brien, aboard his father Aidan's colt Memphis Tennessee. The slow-starting Pour Moi was held up in last place, while Carlton House had settled in behind the main pack.
At one point it seemed that O'Brien had slipped the field as he led by six lengths entering the straight, while in the following group there was the normal barging and bumping of a Derby. Carlton House was definitely hampered, and had to be switched wide, costing him a length or two.
Memphis Tennessee gave way to stablemate Treasure Beach, a 25-1 shot who was being given a terrific ride by Colm O'Donoghue. As Carlton House finally came through with his effort, Treasure Beach repelled him. But swooping down the outside, coming all the way from last to first, was Barzalona and Pour Moi.
With a quite astonishing burst of acceleration that lasted for furlongs, 4-1 second-favourite Pour Moi ate up the ground, and his jockey's timing was Piggott-like - there is no greater praise. At the finishing line, young Barzalona stood up in his stirrups and waved his whip in exultation, though the official finishing distance was just a head and he would have looked incredibly foolish had he not called it so correctly.
Treasure Beach kept going in second place to make it a 1-2 for Irish owners Coolmore, with Carlton House three-quarters of a length away in third. Memphis Tenessee's early bid was enough to give him fourth while Oaks winner Johnny Murtagh was a never nearer fifth on the fancied Native Khan. The biggest disappointments of the race were the Coolmore-owned Seville and Recital from the Ballydoyle stable of O'Brien. The former was dismal and finished tenth, while Recital did as he had done in his trial race and hung left under pressure, It is a disgrace that Kieren Fallon was not allowed to ride him, but Pat Smuller was an able replacement, and neither Fallon nor Smullen or both of them together could have got Recital any nearer than his eventual sixth.Barzalona said: "I always felt confident during the race, and even though I was at the back the other good horses were just in front of me.
"For a while I thought I would be fourth or fifth, but he just accelerated. It is fantastic and I don't realise yet what has happened."
For Fabre, who has been France's champion trainer 22 times and has won the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe seven times, it was a Derby win at the ninth time of asking.
"I've been trying to win the Derby for so long," he said, "but at last it has come.
"The plan now is for a summer break and to aim him at the Arc, subject to the owners agreeing. I wouldn't think he would run in the King George as that is a hard race for inexperienced three-year-olds.
"I was a bit worried when he had to make up a lot of ground, but it was always the plan to ride him that way and the fact it was a small field helped."
Asked about Barzalona, Fabre said: "He is a home-bred jockey and I had total confidence in him. He is only 19."
You have to feel sorry for Her Majesty and all connected with Carlton House.
Nothing went right for the favourite who sweated up before the race and was slowly away from the stalls so that jockey Ryan Moore had to force his mount to expend valuable energy up the steep hill to get into contention coming down to Tattenham Corner.
As they careered down the slope with its awkward camber, Ocean War under Frankie Dettori came wide and accidentally hampered Carlton House's run, while other colts also got in his way as he tried to move forward.
Once he settled down to his closing gallop, though, it seemed Carlton House would overhaul Treasure Beach, but perhaps the knock he picked up in training early in the week also affected him as he appeared less than happy to go through with his effort, while inside the final furlong he lost his near fore shoe - perhaps the colt felt it loosening before it departed.
Carlton House would not have beaten Pour Moi, but given all the circumstances, to finish just over a length behind the winner should convince Her Majesty and trainer Sir Michael Stoute to persevere with him at the highest level - the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Royal Ascot must be a real possibility.Stoute hinted at such: "He's run very well, but things just haven't gone right. He had a hold-up close to the race and during it he got too far back and then had to run wide into the straight. He's still a high-class colt and he will have a big day."
Her Majesty was uppermost in many people's thoughts. Winning owner John Magnier said: "I wish that someone else owned the third horse, but that's racing.
"Andre was confident all the way for the last few weeks. He said how he was going to be ridden and said he had more speed than (Arc winner] Peintre Celebre.
He was confident."
Fellow Coolmore owner Michael Tabor said: "We wanted to win, obviously, it goes without saying - but one thing is for sure and that is if we hadn't, we wanted the Queen's horse to win."