by John Burke

June 8, 2021

Good morning all,

The Derby is the race that every flat owner, trainer, and jockey wants to win. Before the race most pundits had had opined that this year’s renewal was strong one and I don’t think they were wrong.

Inside today’s main piece I look back at flat racing’s ‘blue Riband' race. Plus, I have an eyecatcher from Saturday’s Epsom Derby Day card and a selection from this afternoon's meeting at Salisbury.

Cazoo Derby

It was sunny and warm on Derby Day. The ground had started to dry out after Friday’s rain and it was officially described as good to soft, albeit it was more like dead ground. This meant the William Haggas trained colt Mohaafeth was a late non-runner on account of the going.

After the race there was a fair amount of chatter about Epsom’s watering policy. I think the criticism of the course is a bit unfair.  Even on Thursday evening the forecasters were predicting that most of the rain would just bypass the track. Sadly, those forecasts proved incorrect. If they hadn’t had watered and the rain not arrived then the ground would have been firm rather than good to firm. Now you can argue that flat racing should be run on firm ground. However, these days horses breaking down on such ground is what the sport is trying to avoid.  

Did they put too much water on? Had the water not soaked into the ground? Those are valid questions and go to the crux of watering to maintain the going. It tends to end with ground that’s loose on top. Such ground, doesn’t suit horses that want a sound surface and soft ground horses can also struggle.

Adayar To Remember

Prior to the start plenty of horses had started to sweat up in the hot weather. None more so than 11/8 favourite Bolshoi Ballet.  

As for the race itself we saw a dominant winner in the Charlie Appleby trained Adayar.  Prior to the race Adayar had looked the Godolphin third string after Hurricane Lane and One Ruler. However, the colt did come in for late support before being returned 16/1. Not for the first time the late money was on the money.

The race would be a personal triumph for jockey Adam Kirby. A couple of day’s earlier he was due to ride John Leeper but lost the ride on that colt when Frankie Dettori became available.

Gear Up was quickly sent into the lead and he held that position until two out. Adayar given a ground saving ride on the rail by Kirby bravely went for a small gap inside the leader. Once in the clear the son of Frankel powered clear of the field to win by 4 ½ lengths. The maiden Mojo Star ran on well to finish second at 50/1 with Adayar’s stablemate Hurricane Lane back in third. Bolshoi Ballet looked to be in a good position coming to three out but he found nothing when asked for his effort and eventually finished 7th.  After the race he was to have sustained a bad cut to his leg which likely explains his performance.

Derby Verdict:

Adayar looks the best of the Derby winner since Golden Horn in 2015. After his run in the Lingfield Derby Trial I thought he looked a real grinder. However, he showed a nice blend of speed and stamina to win. We will know by the end of the season how good the race was. I think it will turn out to be a good one and the winner will go on to further Group 1 success.

Runner-up Mojo Star might well prove to have been slightly flattered by his performance but will win good races and like the winner really acted on the loose ground.

Hurricane Lane did best of the fancied horses. I’m not sure he handled the track as well as his stablemate. He was also found to have lost a couple of shoes. In the circumstances this was a good effort. There will be other days for him in Group 1’s this season.

Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Mac Swiney ran well enough in 4th. He handled the track but probably would have preferred Friday’s ground to race on. The 1m 4f stretched his stamina and he will benefit for a drop back to 1m 2f.

The underperformance of Bolshoi Ballet can be explained and although I was a bit concerned by his sweating up before the race, he’s worth another chance especially on a sounder surface.  

Epsom Eyecatcher:

Kimifive – Joseph Tuite

The 6-year-old hasn’t won for two years but he built on his Goodwood reappearance effort when finishing a 2-length 3rd of 9 to Ejtilaab in the 6f handicap that concluded Saturday’s card. He’s back down to the same mark as when beaten a head in last season’s Goodwood Stewards Cup and should win when all the cards fall right.

Tuesday Selection:


4:30 – King’s Castle has improved with each of his three starts since joining the Joseph Tuite yard. The 4-year-old improved on his Windsor seasonal reappearance when a 3 ½ length 5th of 12 at Sandown (soft) 12-days ago. The return to 1m 4f looks a positive one as does a return to a sounder surface.

King’s Castle – 5/1 – Gen.

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Good luck with your Tuesday bets.


John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here –

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

John Burke

John Burke is a long term tipster at the Victor Value service, a contributor to On Course Profits and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt. If you want all of John's selections every weekend and his horses to follow – Click Here

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