Adayar’s stunning run gives Godolphin super second Epsom Derby success - GulfToday

Adayar’s stunning run gives Godolphin super second Epsom Derby success


Adayar, ridden by Adam Kirby, races towards the finish line to win the Derby on the second day of the Epsom Derby Festival on Saturday. Reuters

Adam Kirby’s despair at being jocked off John Leeper ended in joy as he won the Epsom Derby on Adayar, giving Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby his second win in the blue riband of flat racing on Saturday.

It was the second victory in the race for the Dubai-based Godolphin racing operation that was created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, following Masar who triumphed in 2018.

Appleby revealed afterwards that it was down to Sheikh Mohammed that the horse ran in the race.

“All the credit goes to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and team Godolphin. We spoke on Wednesday night after the horses had all breezed that morning and I said to His Highness that I couldn’t be happier with all three but I did feel that Adayar was more of a St Leger horse. He said: ‘Run him, there is only one Derby’ and, as always, he was right.

“It’s fantastic from the team’s point of view. Everyone works so hard at this game and I am delighted for Adam, who gave Adayar a fantastic ride. It’s something that every jockey wants to try and achieve, and he was hungry for it. I am delighted he has got this result.”

Appleby had three runners in the race but it was the outsider of the three Adayar who came home clear of 50/1 chance Mojo Star.

Appleby also trained the third home Hurricane Lane with 79-year-old Irish trainer Jim Bolger’s Mac Swiney fourth.

Favourite Bolshoi Ballet had every chance but faded to finish seventh of the 11 runners whilst John Leeper never got into contention under Frankie Dettori and came in ninth.

Kirby’s joy was champion jockey Oisin Murphy’s loss as he had been slated to ride the winner until Dettori got put on John Leeper.

Kirby had admitted to needing an hour to calm down when he learned he had lost the ride on John Leeper but all that was forgotten once he pulled up Adayar.

“Obviously there are ups and downs in racing and swings and roundabouts,” said Kirby.

“Charlie Appleby is a top man and I cannot thank him enough, he has a great team.

“All I could think of was my mother, she would be watching me, she’d be happy.”I

Appleby was delighted to have won for the second time.

“I was really happy with a second Derby till Aidan (O’Brien who has won it eight times) patted me on the back and I realised I am about 38 (classic) wins behind him!

“I have won one so I know how hard it is.

“As I said before winning the first one ticked boxes of what I had to achieve and it is like driving a car, you do not know what it is like to drive a Ferrari till you have driven one.

“These days make up for the down ones when you go home and you are not in the best of moods so I have to thank my family for putting up with that.”

Appleby has a long association with Kirby, who has ridden over 100 winners for him, though, none as prestigious as the Derby.

“I am delighted for Adam, he gave him a fantastic ride, he was hungry for it.

“Adam knows this horse better than most and it is also well done to the team as he is a homebred, huge team effort I cannot thank everybody enough.

“Adam may have said he was tagged as an all weather jockey but winning the Epsom Derby says it all about his ability.

“He is far from being an all weather jockey.”

The field had been reduced to 11 shortly before the race when trainer William Haggas withdrew Mohaafeth as he felt he could not win on the rain affected ground.

Haggas -- who won the Derby with Shaamit in 1996 -- told ITV he did not feel the 10/1 chance would have liked the rain-softened ground.

Mohaafeth -- who was to run in the colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum -- will instead be aimed at Royal Ascot in a fortnight’s time.

“There has been lots of soul searching and discussion and we have decided to scratch,” said Haagas.

“The decision was left to me and I don’t feel the horse is good on dead ground and it is dead.

“I don’t really want to run in a race I don’t think I can win.”

A sad-looking Haggas said the heavy rain on Friday had put paid to their chances even though the sun on Saturday was drying the ground.

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