Kris Kin lands the Vodafone Derby 2003  

Kris Kin (USA) 3-y-o (5 March 2000) ch c
Kris S (USA)- Angel In My Heart (Fr) (Rainbow Quest (USA)
($275,000) 3rd foal; half brother to 7-8f 3yo winner 3 times Venturer; dam high-class French Group 3 winner, later placed in U.S Grade 1 events, half-sister to top-class juvenile Common Grounds, from an excellent family

Current Owner: Saeed Suhail
Current Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Breeder: Flaxman Holdings Ltd

Most recent win: 08 May 2003- The Philip Leverhulme Dee Stakes (Class A) (Group 3) (Colts & Geldings) (3yo) at Chester

Running in one of the biggest field since 1996, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt, a son of Kris S, landed the Derby at Epsom with considerable support from the public. Starting at a morning price of 14-1, it gradually drifted right down to 6-1 shortly before the start of the race. The inexperience Kris Kin, who had to be supplemented for the race at a cost of 90,000, was majestically ridden by Kieren Fallon, who was landing his second blue riband following Oath’s victory in 1999, while it was a third Derby, although his first since 1986, for leading British trainer Stoute. Before the race most eyes were focused on the big three from Ireland, Alamshar, the 2,000 Guineas winner, Refuse To Bend and Brian Boru. However, the first-named of the three was the only one to offer a semblance of resistance against the eventual winner. Refuse To Bend trailed home in 13th whilst Brian Boru finished a disappointing 16th of the 20 runners. Refuse To Bend looked beaten at Tattenham Corner. Brian Boru most likely found the dried out ground on Derby day a touch quick. Alamshar at one stage looked prominent and battled gamely, but Kris Kin and Fallon swept past him at the furlong pole and never looked in doubt to land the big race. The Great Gatsby, the closest of O’Brien’s four contenders at the finish, raced bravely throughout as did Let Me Try Again, Dutch Gold, Alberto Giacometti and even Brian Boru. Kris Kin proved strong enough to fend off The Great Gatsby, ridden by Pat Eddery, who had led from the off but faded over the last two furlongs. Fallon’s delight was apparent and he said: “Everything went his way. He travelled real good. They went a good gallop and he was able to quicken.” Trainer Michael Stoute was also jubilant: “It’s always a great thrill to win this race” and paid tribute to Fallon’s fantastic jockeyship: “He got one of the great rides around Epsom from Kieren Fallon.” Norse Dancer who looked a huge danger to all when quickening around the two furlong marker could not quite sustain his run and had to settle for fourth after having made up an amazing amount of ground. Johnny Murtagh, rider of Alamshar who came third said: "I was in between a few and he probably didn't travel as well as I thought he would. He seemed to stay on very well. There was a worry about him staying but I think all he did today was stay." Kris Kin’s winning time was fractionally slower than that set by Galileo two years ago but barely a second outside the record set by Lammtarra. Some 20m was gambled on the race, and bookmakers were pleased none of the three market leaders won, but the support for Kris Kin left them with mixed feelings. Meanwhile, Frankie Dettori will have to wait for another year to claim an elusive first win in the Derby. His mount Graikos was his 11th loser in the Classic.

Final results:
1st Kris Kin (K Fallon) 6-1
2nd The Great Gatsby (Pat Eddery) 20-1
3rd Alamshar (J P Murtagh) 4-1
4th Norse Dancer (T Quinn) 16-1

(Yahia Nazroo)

The Vodafone Derby: History  

Epsom Downs experienced its first race meeting in 1661 and the tradition continued until 1779 when the one of today’s greatest racing events was established. Edward Smith Stanley, the 12th Earl of Derby, organised a race for himself and his friends to race their three-year-old fillies over one and a half miles. He named it the Oaks. The Epsom Derby was created as an equivalent to the Oaks, whose field is made up only of fillies, and while the Derby is almost exclusively contested by colts, fillies are not excluded. The inaugural running of the ‘Derby’ was won by Sir Charles Bunbury’s horse Diomed. The contest was held over a mile with the starting point in a straight line beyond the current five-furlong marker. Tattenham Corner was not introduced until 1784 when the course was extended to its current distance of a mile- and-a-half. Even during both world wars the event continued to be staged. Over the years, the great racehorse owners and the best jockeys have achieved success and fame at Epsom Downs. An example of such success is the current Aga Khan who celebrated his fourth victory in 2000 with his 3-year old colt, Sinndar. The Aga Khan’s first Derby win goes back to  Shergar whose performance at Epsom Downs was acknowledged by many as the greatest performance of the 20th century. Lester Piggott dominated The Derby whilst he was riding (nine victories to his name; his first Epsom Derby success came aboard Never Say Die in 1954 and the last 29 years later, on Teenoso) but there have been many great jockeys who found victory at Epsom Downs hard to come by. Sir Gordon Richards, champion jockey 26 times between 1920 and 1954, had to wait until 1953 and the twilight of his career before he won on Pinza. Today’s generation of jockeys; Kevin Darley, George Duffield, Richard Hills, Richard Quinn, and Michael Roberts join Frankie Dettori in seeking that elusive Derby win. The Vodafone Derby remains the race that not only top jockeys, but also owners, trainers and breeders most want to win. The Vodafone Epsom Derby offers a unique challenge to those trainers and jockeys and creates true champions. This is why it is regarded as The Blue Riband of the Turf.

THE BEST SIX AT EPSOM

Sea Bird II (1965) Bred and trained in France, raced only once in Britain. The winning margin was a mere two lengths but the manner in which he demolished the best of the home team stamped him as an exceptional horse. His reputation was further enhanced when he trounced a vintage line-up for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe later in the year. After that he retired to stud in America as the winner of seven races out of eight - and as one of the greatest racehorses in history.

Nijinsky (1970) Trained by Vincent O'Brien, he won all five of his races as a two-year-old and did not let his supporters down in the Derby, recording a stylish victory under the famous Lester Piggott. He landed the Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, and went on to complete the Triple Crown (2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger). He ended his career with two defeats but they could not disguise the glory of his achievements earlier in the year. Piggott paid him this tribute: "Nijinsky possessed more natural ability than any horse I ever rode".

Mill Reef (1971) Mill Reef and the equally-brilliant Brigadier Gerard made 1971 a golden year for racing. Both were outstanding champions in their own right and they remain two of the all-time greats. The "Brigadier" came out on top in the 2000 Guineas but he did not run at Epsom, leaving Mill Reef to make his own indelible mark in the history books. The better of the pair over the Derby distance of a mile-and-a-half, Mill Reef later added the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris to his impressive portfolio.

Shergar (1981) Shergar is perhaps even better known these days for his unsolved disappearance than he is for his breathtaking display at Epsom, where he scored by an unprecedented 10 lengths. After going on to land the Irish Derby and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, he was sensationally beaten in the St Leger and subsequently retired. After spending just one season at the Aga Khan's stud in Ireland, he vanished during the night in February 1983 and was never seen again.

Reference Point (1987) A tough, no-nonsense type, this horse is often overlooked in lists of the best recent Derby winners. But his record undoubtedly exceeds most of them. He was ridden to victory at Epsom by a talented American, Steve Cauthen. Known as the "Kentucky Kid", Cauthen made an immense impact on the racing scene during his successful spell in Britain. Reference Point himself went on to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes and the St Leger. His style of racing was more workmanlike than spectacular but during the course of his career he repeatedly proved to be a very tough nut to crack.

Nashwan (1989) One of jockey Willie Carson's four Derby winners, Nashwan was the last horse to complete the 2000 Guineas-Derby double. It is a feat that Golan attempt to duplicate but with no luck in 2001. Many others have tried and failed. A magnificent athlete, Nashwan deserves a place among the elite for his versatility. He possessed enough speed to win over a mile in the Newmarket Classic and the stamina to cope with an extra four furlongs at Epsom.

References:
www.epsomderby.co.uk/website/derby/history.htm
www.bbc.co.uk
www.epsomderby.com

(Yahia Nazroo)

 

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