1979 Epsom Derby

The 1979 Epsom Derby was the 200th annual running of the Derby horse race. It took place at Epsom Downs Racecourse on 6 June 1979. With a prize of £153,980 to the winner, the race value was a significant increase on the £98,410 offered the previous year and a record for a race contested in Europe[1][2]

1979 Epsom Derby
LocationEpsom Downs Racecourse
Date6 June 1979
Winning horseTroy
Starting price6/1
JockeyWillie Carson
TrainerDick Hern
OwnerSir Michael Sobell & Lord Weinstock
1980 →
Epsom Derby 1979
Pale blue, yellow and white check cap Dark green, black hooped sleeves, hooped cap Mauve, white sleeves, black cap, gold tassel
Troy Dickens Hill Northern Baby

The winter ante-post market was headed by Tromos who was followed by More Light, Gregorian, Sandy Creek and Troy.[3] However, only the latter named would line up at Epsom. Dewhurst Stakes winner Tromos picked up a virus after finishing runner up in the Craven Stakes, More Light was decisively beaten in both the Heath Stakes and the Dante Stakes, Gregorian was unraced again after beaten 8¾ lengths in the Ballymoss Stakes while Sandy Creek never returned to the racecourse after his juvenile season. On the day of the race, the market was headed by Guy Harwood's Ela-Mana-Mou who had supplemented his juvenile success in the Royal Lodge Stakes by winning the Heath Stakes by four lengths.[4] Next in the market was Troy who had won four of his previous five starts including the Vintage Stakes, Sandown Classic Trial and Predominate Stakes. One of three representatives for Dick Hern, who had been attempting to win the race for twenty years, he was the chosen mount of Willie Carson.[5] Milford and Tap On Wood were the remaining horses in the single digit price range with the former winning his trials at Ascot and Sandown by a combined fifteen lengths, and the latter a surprise 20/1 winner of the 2000 Guineas.[2]

The pace was set by Henry Cecil's Lyphard's Wish and his lead lasted until a furlong and a half from home when passed by the Irish trained Dickens Hill.Dickens Hill's lead would not last long however as Troy, who had struggled for pace early on and was only in thirteenth place at Tattenham Corner, stormed past for an emphatic victory.[6] The winning margin of seven lengths was the widest recorded since Manna in 1925. The race was in danger of being marred as a toilet roll was thrown at the runners by a spectator at Tattenham Corner. Yves Saint-Martin, riding Vincent O'Brien's Accomplice, passed the finishing with the paper still attached to his head although he stated that the incident did not cost him the race.[7]

Race detailsEdit

  • Sponsor: none
  • Winner's prize money: £153,980
  • Going: Good
  • Number of runners: 23
  • Winner's time: 2 minutes, 36.59 seconds

Full resultEdit

Dist * Horse Jockey Trainer SP
1 Troy Willie Carson Dick Hern 6-1
2 7 Dickens Hill Tony Murray Mick O'Toole 15-1
3 3 Northern Baby Philippe Paquet François Boutin 66-1
4 ¾ Ela-Mana-Mou Greville Starkey Guy Harwood 9-2f
5 2 Lyphard's Wish Joe Mercer Henry Cecil 11-1
6 shd Hardgreen Paul Cook Michael Stoute 25-1
7 hd Man Of Vision Bruce Raymond Michael Jarvis 33-1
8 Cracaval Bill Shoemaker Barry Hills 22-1
9 Niniski John Reid Dick Hern 80-1
10 Milford Lester Piggott Dick Hern 15-2
11 Noelino Christy Roche Paddy Prendergast 12-1
12 Tap On Wood Steve Cauthen Barry Hills 15-2
13 Morvetta Geoff Baxter Denys Smith 500-1
14 Two Of Diamonds Ernie Johnson Barry Hills 25-1
15 Son Of Love Alain Lequeux Robert Collet 200-1
16 Lake City Brian Taylor Ryan Price 50-1
17 New Berry Pat Eddery Peter Walwyn 25-1
18 Chetinkaya Brian Rouse Philip Mitchell 500-1
19 Accomplice Yves Saint-Martin Vincent O'Brien 50-1
20 Leodegrance Philip Waldron Toby Balding 500-1
21 Halyudh Geoff Lewis Scobie Breasley 200-1
22 Laska Floko Edward Hide Clive Brittain 40-1
Ref Saracen Prince Kipper Lynch Paul Kelleway 500-1

Winner detailsEdit

Further details of the winner, Troy:

  • Foaled: 25 March 1976, in Ireland
  • Sire: Petingo; Dam: La Milo (Hornbeam)
  • Owner: Sir Michael Sobell & Lord Weinstock
  • Breeder: Ballymacoll Stud

Form analysisEdit

Two-year-old racesEdit

Notable runs by the future Derby participants as two-year-olds in 1978:[8]

The road to EpsomEdit

Early-season appearances in 1979 and trial races prior to running in the Derby:[2]

Subsequent Group 1 winsEdit

Group 1 / Grade I victories after running in the Derby.

Subsequent breeding careersEdit

Leading progeny of participants in the 1979 Epsom Derby.[9][10][11]

Sires of Classic winnersEdit

Niniski (9th)

Troy (1st)

Northern Baby (3rd)

Ela-Mana-Mou (4th)

Sires of Group/Grade One winnersEdit

Lyphard's Wish (5th)

Sires of National Hunt horsesEdit

Dickens Hill (2nd)

Other StallionsEdit

Tap On Wood (12th) - Royal Touch (2nd Prix de la Forêt 1989), Miss Boniface (3rd Prix de la Salamandre 1987)
Milford (10th) - Cunizza da Romano (2nd Oaks d'Italia 1987), Luck Mugen (3rd Oka Sho 1992) - Exported to Japan
Halyudh (21st) - Mr Boston (2nd Midlands Grand National 1992)
Hardgreen (6th) - Minor flat and jumps winners
Man Of Vision (7th) - Exported to Japan
Lake City (17th) - Exported to Venezuela
Laska Floko (22nd) - Exported to South Africa


  1. ^ Phillips, Michael. "Sport." Times, June 7, 1978, 8. The Times Digital Archive (accessed June 22, 2020). https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CS134447815/TTDA?u=mclib&sid=TTDA&xid=1094411d.
  2. ^ a b c Timeform staff (1980). Racehorses of 1979. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-29-4.
  3. ^ "Gilmartins Bookmakers". Sligo Champion. 15 December 1978. Retrieved 22 June 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ BAERLEIN, RICHARD. "Ela-Mana-Mou Impresses." The Guardian (1959-2003), Apr 20, 1979. ProQuest 186160944
  5. ^ "The Great Escape". Daily Mirror. 7 June 1979. Retrieved 22 June 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "The Great Escape". Daily Mirror. 7 June 1979. Retrieved 22 June 2020 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ Sports Writer. "Willie Carson wins his first Derby as Troy streaks home at Epsom." The Scotsman, June 7, 1979. https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-scotsman/20130601/283081296758483
  8. ^ Timeform staff (1979). Racehorses of 1978. Timeform. ISBN 0-900599-27-8.
  9. ^ "Stammtafeln". Galopp Sieger. Galopp Sieger. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  10. ^ "Profiles Search". Racing Post. Racing Post. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Progeny Reports". Pedigree Query. Pedigree Query. Retrieved 22 June 2020.

External linksEdit