With only two behind him with three furlongs to run, the son of 2011 Derby victor Pour Moi came from the clouds to collar his Aidan O'Brien-trained stablemate Cliffs Of Moher and Ryan Moore in the dying strides.
Wings Of Eagles was the fifth string Ballydoyle runner and was returned at 40/1 to put the Meath jockey in the limelight.
South African racing fans had plenty of interest in the race courtesy of the Mayfair Speculators runner Douglas Macarthur, a stablemate to the top two, who cut out a pace from the break that would have almost matched anything seen on our Scottsville Tsogo Sun Sprint day Gr1 jackpot of a few weeks ago. With the Queen in attendance, 18 horses paraded to the post with favoritism falling upon Cracksman, a son of Frankel trained by John Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori, who were hoping to repeat Enable's Oaks success of a day earlier.
The Epsom Derby is widely expected to be a battle between five-time champion Cliffs of Moher and Cracksman.
Cliffs of Moher had been the most heavily tipped but began to sweat heavily only a couple of minutes before the race, causing its price to drift.
In the back of the pack with traffic yet to deal with was Wings of Eagles (16th), while the midpack included Cracksman (5th).
They were excuses as implausible as this Derby win was improbable and in the end, with the weight of evidence overwhelming, he admitted taking the drug at a barbecue and was suspended for a year. I said if I get a run I'll win. I had almost given it up.
"His lad at home was delighted with him [Wings Of Eagles]".
It is the first time ever that the victor of the Epsom Derby is a graduate of the Deauville yearling sales.
"Couldn't be happier and delighted with Cliffs Of Moher. I can't tell you how delighted we are to having him working for us". I picked myself up and learned my lesson and this proves that good things can happen after bad things. "I think the mile and a half will be right up his alley".
"I think he just ran a little babyish and he could have done with that other run, but I didn't want to run him on that soft ground (in the Dante)".
"He ran a great race, he was just a light on experience at the end but I don't think he was beaten too far". M. V. Magnier purchased Wings of Eagles as a yearling from the 2015 Arqana August sale for €220,00 ($244,398).
"The places were reasonably good despite Cracksman and Cliffs Of Moher finishing second and third and this has to go down as a bookmaker friendly result".
Betfair spokesperson Barry Orr said: "This has to be the most open Derby in recent years".
"He is strong and has a great mind and tactically astute".