You are here

Adayar proves a star in G1 Derby


Adayar became the second Godolphin homebred in the space of four years to capture the G1 Derby with a sensational display in the premier Classic at Epsom Downs, UK, on Saturday, 5 June.

The Frankel colt had broken slowly when finishing second in Derby trials at Sandown Park and Lingfield Park but was slightly quicker into his stride this time and soon raced in third behind Gear Up and Youth Spirit.

He was shuffled back to fourth as Bolshoi Ballet moved up around runners after the first three furlongs, one place ahead of Hurricane Lane, with One Ruler held up at the rear of the field.

Adayar appeared full of running passing the three-furlong pole and made a daring move down the inside rail to hit the front approaching the final quarter-mile.

Adam Kirby kicked for home on Adayar soon after and he readily opened up daylight over his 11 rivals, galloping out relentlessly to prevail by four and a half lengths.

Hurricane Lane looked set to lay down a strong challenge under William Buick as he went second two furlongs out before being passed by Mojo Star over a furlong out.

He battled away in the closing stages, despite drifting on the camber, going down by just under eight lengths in total to provide Charlie Appleby with a first and third in the 12-furlong showpiece.

One Ruler also produced a good effort for the trainer as he came home sixth after failing to see out the distance.

Charlie Appleby, who trained Masar to victory in the 2018 Derby, said: “All the credit goes to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and team Godolphin. We spoke on Wednesday night after the horses had all breezed that morning and I said to His Highness that I couldn’t be happier with all three but I did feel that Adayar was more of a St Leger horse. He said: ‘Run him, there is only one Derby’ and, as always, he was right.

“It’s fantastic from the team’s point of view. Everyone works so hard at this game and I am delighted for Adam, who gave Adayar a fantastic ride. It’s something that every jockey wants to try and achieve, and he was hungry for it. I am delighted he has got this result.

“Adam knew Adayar better than most as he broke him in, so well done to his team at Vicarage Farm. Most importantly, he is a homebred out of a homebred mare and it’s a huge team effort. I can’t thank everybody enough to be in this position, to stand here again on this hallowed ground.

“We always felt that Adayar was going to be a bit slowly away because of the size of him – it gets a bit tight in those stalls. We told Adam to try and get him into a rhythm without using him up too much coming up the hill.

“With this track and this distance, it’s all about getting them to breathe, and Adam got that completely right today. Once he kicked for home, the one thing Adayar wasn’t going to do was stop. A class horse might pick him up but he wouldn’t go down easily.

“We will go back and let the dust settle on today. We will probably have to revisit my plans after I boldly said that Adayar was a St Leger horse! He might still go there yet and he is only going to get better as the year goes on because of his size. He is still a baby and, once he starts furnishing into his physique, he will be a smashing horse in the autumn.

“William was pleased with Hurricane Lane, while I would imagine coming back to a mile and a quarter would be One Ruler’s trip. We will enjoy today and try to find the right holes to put the pegs in later on.

“I am very fortunate to be in the position I am, having success all round the world. It’s what we all want – everyone is striving for it from top to bottom – but I feel we are in a position that people are respecting us when we turn up in these races. We don’t want to turn up for the fun of it and a day out, we want to be here and be competitive. Thankfully, that is where we are today with the support of everybody around us. It allows us to enjoy it more.”

Adam Kirby said: “Full credit to Charlie Appleby, I can’t thank him enough. He is an absolute gentleman and a great trainer, who is fantastic to ride for. There is no pressure with him, he just lets you get on with it, and he is the coolest guy to ride for. It’s great that he has faith in me and I will never be able to thank him enough. It’s a great day and hasn’t really sunk in yet. It seems a bit unbelievable.

“Stall one has worked out well because you go right first. I had to use Adayar for a furlong and a half just to get him into a decent position. Once I was in that position, I was able to save, save, save the whole way round.

“When I had just enough room up the fence and asked him to get in there, he was very gutsy for a big horse and put the race to bed quickly. I think everything went very smoothly and I wouldn’t have changed anything.

“There is no doubt Adayar is a great horse but being able to save so much ground on the day helped him. He relaxed, breathed, chilled out and was there the whole way for me.

“They have to be good-minded horses to be able to switch off after having to get a position because you can set them alight and they over-race. Luckily, it was our day. I was thinking about my mum for the last furlong – that she would be watching and she would be proud. I’ve lost my father, so sadly he couldn’t be here with us, but he would have been very proud as well.

“This means everything. It’s the Derby. I have always said that I would rather win a Derby than be Champion jockey. It’s the greatest race. It’s the race you grow up watching and it’s unbelievable.”

William Buick said: “Hurricane Lane has run a huge race. It was only his fourth start, so he does lack a bit of match practice and will be better in time. He jumped and travelled well up the hill before putting himself in a nice spot. We were in a position where we were nice and relaxed, with nothing really bothering us on our outside.

“I always wanted to be somewhere where I could go when I wanted to, which is what we got. Adayar picked up amazingly well and won like a very, very good horse. Adam had a beautiful trip and gave the horse a great ride.

“I think you would have to be very impressed with Adayar today. It’s fantastic for the whole team and it’s fantastic for Sheikh Mohammed. He puts so much into it and this is what he deserves. I feel very privileged to be part of it.”