Dettori praises Derby hero Kirby | Race News
Frankie Dettori was delighted to receive thanks from Derby-winning jockey Adam Kirby for his role in the unlikely streak of events that culminated in Epsom’s glory on Adayar.
Kirby, who won a four-and-a-half length victory over Godolphin’s apparent third rope, started the Cazoo Derby week by planning his challenge in place of the famous John Leeper.
However, he lost that race to Dettori, after Aidan O’Brien decided to field just one of his six possible challengers for Saturday’s Classic – leaving stable jockey Ryan Moore to team up with favorite Bolshoi Ballet, finally not placed, and to the newly available Italian.
John Leeper’s owner responded by quickly grabbing Dettori. But Kirby was not left rimless from Derby for a long time, as Godolphin coach Charlie Appleby updated his reservations to switch him to Adayar, in place of two-time champion jockey Oisin Murphy.
Adayar was the least sought after of Appleby’s three contenders, but proved to be the best of his generation at Epsom, becoming the first of this century to win the big race from the first dropout – and ending an incredible week for Kirby on an indisputable career record with his first classic. at the age of 32.
As Dettori reflected on contrasting fortunes, having himself been beaten by more than 20 lengths in the ninth over John Leeper, he described the ‘big story’ of the 2021 Derby.
Asked about the aftermath of Kirby and Adayar’s victory, on Luck On Sunday on Racing TV, Dettori said: “He thanked me for taking it away from John Leeper.
“I was partly responsible for his Derby victory.”
Kirby spoke with an admirable combination of clarity and emotion after the race, having previously admitted that the disappointment of being kidnapped John Leeper had briefly been difficult to bear.
Dettori added: “Adam was shocked yesterday. It was great to see his big smile, and I thought his interview was amazing… it almost made me cry.
“The Derby went at a good pace, and the best won the day.
“Adam gave him a fantastic turn – and the further they went, the further Adam got away.
“It’s a great story, great for Charlie, Godolphin, for everyone. I thought he was a good Derby winner.”
Dettori is convinced that John Leeper will have many better days to come – but, at least for the time being, on a shorter trip.
“It’s the free run type, so I spent most of the race trying to set it up,” he said.
“So I advised to bring it down to a mile and a quarter. He’s a good horse, but he wasn’t ready for this kind of event yet.
“It was very clear and obvious that he hadn’t come home at all.”
The two-day Epsom encounter was yet another memorable success for Dettori, who broke new ground at the age of 50 by leading O’Brien’s Snowfall to Oaks victory on Friday by a record 16 length margin.
It was also his 21st victory in a British Classic, equaling the historic feat of Fred Archer – dating back 135 years.
“I’m very proud of that, of course – 30 years in the sport, and that’s a big number,” Dettori added.
“The snowfall was breathtaking. It goes without saying that it went too fast at first.
“She traveled comfortable, enjoyed the terrain – and beat all three (iron masts). This is very unusual for a Classic – they are very difficult to win, (but) I won the race to Tattenham Corner.
“When I got to the fence she took off. I probably could have pulled her a few more lengths if I had pushed her out. It was an amazing performance.”
Dettori contemplates an ambitious plan for Snowfall to try to follow in the footsteps of Enable, which he knew to win Oaks success in 2017, then wins over Colts and his elders at the age of three – culminating in the first of his Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe wins.
He said: “I talked to Aidan about it and said ‘with all the allowances she gets in the future she will be very hard to beat”.
“Enable has been doing it for three straight years. The snowfall is just beginning – but when you have a filly of this caliber, you have to go for the big races.
“I’m sure they’ll do a close-up, and it goes without saying that the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the season – with the filly allocation – will be a prime target.”
Before that, Dettori will then focus on her “favorite week” of the year, at Royal Ascot – including a series of potential great race chances for John and Thady Gosden, and US coach Wesley Ward.
“In an hour, I’ll be riding (Commonwealth Cup favorite) Campanelle (working) for Wesley,” he said on Sunday morning.
“So already, we are preparing for Royal Ascot.
“We’ll have a big enough squad for John Gosden. We just have to address all of those handicaps – but we’ll tackle them when we have the entries.
“Royal Ascot is my favorite week. I love it – that’s why we work so hard every morning, to bring the horses to Ascot
“Now that the Derby and the Oaks are gone, it’s full steam ahead for the royal reunion.”