Stoute's Desert Crown produces regal performance in Derby

·4-min read

Desert Crown produced an imperious display to give trainer Michael Stoute his sixth win in the Epsom Derby on Saturday which was part of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Stoute raised his top hat as the 5-2 favourite passed the post clear under Richard Kingscote, who was riding in only his second Derby.

Stoute, at 76 the oldest trainer to win flat racing's blue riband, had already sent out Kris Kin to Derby success in 2003 for Saeed Suhail, the owner of Desert Crown.

The Barbados-born Stoute landed his first Derby in 1981 with the brilliant but ultimately ill-fated Shergar.

"He (Desert Crown) is a lovely athlete," Stoute told Racing TV.

"He has got a lot of talent and has a good mind," added Stoute putting his finger to his head.

Desert Crown was the first favourite to prevail since Golden Horn in 2015.

All was not smooth as police had to remove a group of female protesters on the finishing straight ahead of the big race.

Stoute's victory would have pleased the 96-year-old Queen who had to miss the Derby for only the third time in her 70 year reign -- the two Covid-affected runnings apart -- as Stoute trained her horse Estimate to win the 2013 Ascot Gold Cup.

Princess Anne stepped in to represent the Queen, and she did not go away empty-handed as the racecourse presented her with a painting of the Monarch's 1977 Epsom Oaks winner Dunfermline which came on her Silver Jubilee.

Kingscote's ride would have delighted the nine-time Derby winning jockey Lester Piggott. He died last Sunday and Saturday's race was named in his honour.

For Kingscote it was a far happier Derby day than the last time he went to Epsom and his car suffered a puncture with him having to be bundled into another motorist's car by his wife.

"I can't put it into words, when I was a kid I was useless," said Kingscote.

"I have had a lot of support.

"Obviously he has a huge amount of class, he jumped out great, got in position, travelled great, turned in going in really well.

"He's got class, gave me a lot of confidence, it's all about him and Sir Michael."

Ashleigh, the wife of the tattoo-covered motorbike loving winning jockey, was not only relieved at actually getting to see the Derby but delighted for her husband.

"You hope for the best but you expect the worst," she said.

"Like what happened with the car the previous time!!

"Will we celebrate? Knowing Richard probably a Red Bull!! Though we have some champagne in the car."

- 'I'm just a scallywag' -

Desert Crown crossed the famous finish line two and a half lengths clear of 150-1 outside Hoo Ya Mal with Westover only a head away at 25-1 in third.

Westover's jockey Rob Hornby instead of being ecstatic was disconsolate as his horse finished like a train after being badly baulked in the finishing straight.

"We set off beautifully, I was quite happy, I had tabs on Desert Crown," said Hornby.

"I had the gap then it closed faster than I could get into it.

"It's tough because he really rattled home well. It's frustrating."

Despite the Queen's absence -- she was expected to watch on television from Windsor Castle -- Epsom celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in style.

Riding greats AP McCoy, Willie Carson, Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore and American Steve Cauthen were among the 40 jockeys who had ridden for her and dressed in her silks.

They formed a guard of honour to welcome Princess Anne as she arrived by limousine down the racetrack.

"Winning the Oaks on Dunfermline on the Silver Jubilee was a fairytale," said 79-year-old Carson.

Royal trainers William Haggas -- son-in-law of Piggott -- Nicky Henderson, John Gosden and Andrew Balding also were on parade to greet Princess Anne and her daughter Zara Tindall.

Henderson was to deliver a winner for the Queen on the day, though at the less glamorous environs of Worcester racecourse.

All of the royal jamboree left jockey Martin Dwyer -- who despite a leg injury showed up for the guard of honour -- in wonderment.

"I'm just a scallywag from a council estate I am so honoured to be here," said Martin Dwyer.


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