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AFL legend Denis Pagan says Victoria Derby win ‘10 times better’ than North Melbourne premiership success

Trainer Denis Pagan was lost for words after today’s Victoria Derby victory, stating the win was “10 times better” than his AFL grand final success as a coach.

On a significant day for the Australian turf calendar, Pagan became the toast of the racing world barely weeks after opening a stable with a small team of horses.

COACHING LEGEND SADDLES UP HIS FIRST RUNNER

PAGAN MAKES SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO RACEHORSE TRAINER

Jockey Lachlan King hugs Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry.
Camera IconJockey Lachlan King hugs Victoria Derby winner Johnny Get Angry. Credit: Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images

Pagan, who led North Melbourne to premierships in 1996 and 1999, took Johnny Get Angry to the Group 1 win in the Derby, one of Australia’s oldest and most prestigious races.

“I’m lost for words,” he said. “It’s just such an amazing feeling.

“I thought I was pretty low key yesterday and had a good lunch and maybe a bit too much to drink.

“I didn’t expect this. And it’s happened.”

As one of the outsiders, Johnny Get Angry was dismissed as a legitimate chance on the premise he didn’t have the class to match in it the $2 million race.

But just like his trainer in his heyday as an AFL coach, Johnny Get Angry took a no-nonsense attitude to competition.

Apprentice jockey Lachlan King took the $21 outsider to the win, beating Hit The Shot ($7) by a length. The favourite Young Werther ($3.40) took the minor placing.

Pagan is only allowed to train horses he owns under his provisional licence.

Trainer Denis Pagan (right) with jockey Lachlan King riding Johnny Get Angry at Flemington Racecourse.
Camera IconTrainer Denis Pagan (right) with jockey Lachlan King riding Johnny Get Angry at Flemington Racecourse. Credit: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Johnny Get Angry, a horse he bought for $50,000, was the first to enter his stable. Now he’s taken home a $1.2 million prize.

The Derby was run at a deserted Flemington as COVID-19 protocols kept away a crowd that can often reach 100,000 on the first day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

With AAP

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