Derby winning jockey Adam Kirby has thanked trainer Charlie Appleby for allowing him to ride winning horse Adayar after an eleventh hour rider change.
Kirby was originally due to ride the Ed Dunlop-trained John Leeper in Epsom’s famous Flat race – only to lose it when Frankie Dettori became available.
However, Appleby stepped in to offer the 32-year-old the mount on his apparent third-string Adayar, replacing previously booked champion jockey Oisin Murphy.
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The Lingfield Derby Trial runner-up and 16-1 shot subsequently went on to victory by four and a half lengths to give Kirby his first Classic win.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports Racing, Adam Kirby said: “Mr (Ed) Dunlop rang me and asked me to ride John Leeper and within 10 minutes Charlie (Appleby) rang and said ‘I think I’m going run three in the Derby and will you ride one for me?’
“I said ‘Charlie, I can’t believe it I’ve just took the ride on John Leeper’ and he said ‘alright, stick with him then and see how we go’ and best of luck.
“Then unfortunately I got the call to say that Frankie (Dettori) was going to ride John Leeper so I had been shifted off him which wasn’t great news.
“You know, we’d all feel the same wouldn’t we. It’s like having a cup in your hand and someone taking it off you, it’s not yours any more, it’s not very pleasant but that’s life.
“Luckily Charlie was on the ball about it and he got me back on Adayar.
“He’s the top man here, not me, to do what he has done, to take a Champion jockey (Oisin Murphy) off for me is a great feeling, he’s a great person.”
How the Derby unfolded
Gear Up set the early gallop, with Kirby on his heels aboard Adayar and Youth Spirit also prominent in the early stages.
Favourite Bolshoi Ballet was also towards the head of the field, settled in fourth on the outside, while the well-fancied John Leeper was restrained in last place by Frankie Dettori until the field reached Tattenham Corner.
Gear Up started to drop away with two furlongs to run, allowing Kirby a run up the inside rail and he soon put daylight between himself and the field.
Mojo Star finished well from off the pace to take second, with Hurricane Lane also keeping on at the one pace for minor honours, but Adayar prevailed by four and a half lengths.
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