Cazoo Derby: what you need to know as Adam Kirby guides Adayar to surprise Epsom triumph

By Nicholas Godfrey

So you know Adam Kirby partnered Godolphin’s 16-1 shot Adayar to win the 242nd edition of thr Cazoo Derby at Epsom, where hot favourite Bollshoi Ballet was a disappointment. Here are the details plus some other stuff you might be interested in – quotes, videos and tweets.

LATEST: King George for Adayar, Bolshoi Ballet back soon

What’s going on?


Epsom (June 5): Cazoo Derby G1 £1.125m, 1m4f, turf, 3yo
1 Adayar 16-1
Saved ground throughout behind front-running Gear Up before darting through gap on rail in straight; well clear
2 Mojo Star 50-1
Maiden finished well without ever threatening winner
3 Hurricane Lane 6-1
Seemed outpaced before staying on at one pace
11 ran (Mohaafeth nr). Margins: 4½l, 3¼l, 3¼l
Time: 2m36.85s (good to soft)
Fav: Bolshoi Ballet 11-8 (7th) raced three wide fairly close, nothing to offer in straight

Horse Racing Adayar Adam Kirby Derby Epsom
Adayar (Adam Kirby) wins the G1 Cazoo Derby at Epsom. Photo: Qipco British Champions Series

About the winner

Pedigree: 3 bc Frankel – Anna Salal (Dubawi)
Trainer: Charlie Appleby
Jockey: Adam Kirby
Owner: Godolphin
Breeder: Godolphin

Background: fifth career start for homebred son of Frankel; won both starts at Nottingham at two before coming second in Derby trials at both Sandown and Lingfield, behind Alenquer and Third Realm respectively.

On the record

Adam Kirby was riding his first Classic winner. He had had only one previous Derby ride on Dubai Thunder (11th) in 2017.
Charlie Appleby was training his second Derby winner after Masar (2018); he had three runners, Adayar being joined by Hurricane Lane (3rd) and One Ruler (6th).
Adayar is a third Derby winner for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, but only the second in the team’s famous royal blue silks after Masar. Lammtarra (1995) was also part of Godolphin, although his official owner was Saeed Maktoum Al Maktoum, the late Sheikh Maktoum’s son whose colours were green and white.
The Maktoum family and associates have now been responsible for seven Derby winners in total: Nashwan (1989), Erhaab (1994), Lammtarra (1995), Kris Kin (2003), New Approach (2008), Masar (2018) and Adayar (2021).
The winner was a first Derby success for progeny of the great Frankel, himself a son of the legendary stallion Galileo.

What’s next? Targets and betting

Adayar – St Leger/Arc

Appleby said he had considered Adayar more of a St Leger horse until Sheikh Mohammed advised him to let him run at Epsom. He is 7-2 (from 16) for the Doncaster Classic with Paddy Power, who make him 8-1 for the Arc. Ladbrokes offer the same for ParisLongchamp, while Coral go 4-1 favourite for the Leger.

Snap reaction

Adam Kirby: “I went a bit weak on him in the final half-furlong. I couldn’t believe it. All I could think was my mother would be watching. That made me a bit sad but she’d have been so happy.”
Charlie Appleby: “If he hadn’t run here, he’d have probably run in the Vase!”

Any other business

Adam Kirby a late call-up

Adam Kirby was a late booking, having got the ride only after being jocked off well-fancied John Leeper (9th) by Frankie Dettori. Kirby himself replaced champion jockey Oisin Murphy on the winner.

Football agent owns runner-up

Mojo Star, the 50-1 shot who stayed on for second, carries the colours of Amo Racing Limited, the racing vehicle of top football agent Kia Joorabchian. “We are a young operation – still a baby operation – and we are up against the big Goliaths,” he said.

Bolshoi Ballet ‘lifeless’ says Aidan O’Brien

Trainer mentions that favourite likes “really nice ground”, which may have been the cause of a performance he described as “lifeless”. It later emerged he had been struck into on his off-hind in the early stages.

John Leeper didn’t stay – Dettori

Frankie Dettori said: “It was just too far for him at this stage of his life. We’ll go back to a mile and a quarter.”

Shall we talk about it?

Charlie Appleby (Adayar’s trainer): “I had a conversation with His Highness on Wednesday and I sort of put it up there that Adayar would be more of a staying horse and, thankfully, he put me straight back where I should be and said ‘no Charlie, there’s only one Derby and you need to stay in the Derby’.
“To win the way he has done, he’s stamped his authority there among the three-year-old middle-distance horses. We’ll just take a breath, let the dust settle and regroup.
“Adam is a huge part of the team, he’s been with us since I started and does a lot on the racing side, breaks some of our horses in. I have to say Oisin was very professional when he took the news. Once Adam was available, I was always going to offer the ride to him, and Oisin said ‘I know what you’re going to say and I understand’, so a big thanks to him for being a true sportsman.”

Horse Racing Adayar Adam Kirby Derby Epsom
Adayar and Adam Kirby after their Cazoo Derby win at Epsom. Photo: Qipco British Champions Series

Adam Kirby (Adayar’s jockey): “There’s been ups and downs, it’s racing, but when it comes to Charlie Appleby, he’s a top man. I can’t thank him enough; his loyalty is unbelievable. He’s a real man’s man. Clive Cox, my guv’nor, isn’t here today but he’s the most loyal man, and to be able to ride class horses when you’re just a sort of run-of-the-mill jockey and you get a chance on the big day to deliver – it’s a marvellous feeling.
“It’s a Derby. He ran well in the Lingfield Derby Trial and that was obviously good form – we can all be wiser after the event. I got in and luckily the horse was brave enough to go through with it – he galloped up to the line and out through it. It’s a marvellous day. I hope my mother was watching.

“I’m not really a person to get overexcited about things, but I was then and it was a real buzz. I hope my kids are watching, and at least they know when they call Daddy an all-weather jockey, he’s not an all-weather jockey.
“Being described as an all-weather jockey has never really bothered me, but it does on days like today, but now they can all keep their opinions. I’m good on the all-weather because I ride on the all-weather, and I get horses with chances on the all-weather. You can’t win these big races unless you’re in them, for starters, so it’s great to pick up a ride in the Derby, let alone win it. Mad, crazy – what goes around comes around.”

David Egan (Mojo Star’s jockey): “What a run! I followed the third round as I thought he was a horse who would take us into the race, and I got a lovely run up the inside. I committed for the inside and went for a gun run and he was tough to battle through the gap. The winner got first run and quickened away, but we were a game second. Although he’s a maiden he could win a Group 1. Everyone’s thrilled.”

Richard Hannon (Mojo Star’s trainer): “He’s always been the most gorgeous horse, so I was stunned when he didn’t win his maiden at Doncaster. He travelled like a really good horse but didn’t handle the undulations. We’ve got enough money now from this to throw at some fancy entries.”

Charlie Appleby (Hurricane Lane’s trainer): “He’s finished third in a Derby and is going to be a contender in some of the other big races in the year.”

William Buick (Hurricane Lane’s jockey): “I chose to ride Hurricane Lane and I was very happy with it and Charlie was very happy as well. His victory in the Dante was good and he’s been doing very well ever since. He ran a huge race to finish third and it was only his fourth start.
“Obviously Adayar picked up amazingly well and won like a very good horse and Adam had a very good trip on him. He’s done very little wrong, he’s placed a couple of times in trials earlier in the season and you’d imagine as a big horse he’s going to get even better.”

Kevin Manning (Mac Swiney’s jockey): “I had a good run all the way but he just didn’t pick up in the straight. The ground may have been a bit dead for him but it was a good run.”

Aidan O’Brien (Bolshoi Ballet’s trainer): “I won’t make any excuses because I don’t want to take away from any other horse, but I would say that he probably likes really nice ground and it just didn’t work for him today. We’ll try again. I don’t think it was stamina but it was lifeless – whether that was from the ground I don’t know. He had a perfect position and it was just lifeless.”

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