Horse Racing

Frankie Dettori praises Adam Kirby for winning Epsom Derby after taking his ride on the disappointing John Leeper

FRANKIE Dettori has revealed that Adam Kirby thanked him for jocking him off John Leeper in the Derby.

Kirby was replaced by Dettori on the leading Derby contender less than three days before the big race at Epsom.

Kirby won the Derby on 16-1 shot Adayar on Saturday

But Kirby bounced back from the disappointment of losing the ride with a stunning 16-1 victory on Adayar.

Dettori, who finished well down the field on the disappointing John Leeper, joked that he helped Kirby ride the biggest winner of his career.

He said: “He thanked me for taking him off John Leeper – I was partly responsible for him winning the Derby!

“Adam was shell-shocked yesterday. It was great to see his big smile, and I thought his interview was amazing. It nearly had me in tears.

“The Derby was run at a good pace, and the best horse won on the day.

“Adam gave him a fantastic ride – and the further they were going, the further away Adam was going.

“It’s a great story, great for Charlie, Godolphin, for everybody. I thought he was a good Derby winner.”

Kirby was thrilled after his first ever Classic success, and said he didn’t hold any resentment towards Dettori.

He said post-race: “There are ups and downs in racing, you have to pick yourself up.

“Don’t be bitter, be better.”

Dettori reckons that the lightly-raced John Leeper will have better days ahead – but he thinks the horse needs to drop back in distance.

He continued: “He’s quite a free-running sort, so I spent most of the race trying to get him settled.

“So I advised to bring him back to a mile and a quarter. He’s a good horse, but he wasn’t ready for this kind of test at the moment.

“It was very plain and obvious that he didn’t get home at all.”


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