Fingers crossed for Adayar
Mike Deasy on hoping Adayar can boost the Derby and Ascot’s King George, Steve Cauthen – the Kentucky Kid’s 14-year English Odyssey, Irelands call – to support England, and more
Twelve months ago these scribblings wondered if Serpentine, the surprise 2020 winner of the Derby at 25/1, could land more Group 1 races and be remembered as an Epsom classic victor who went on to further top-flight triumphs.
He did not.
We’ve only seen him three times since and he’s never finished better than fourth. Last time out, in May at the Curragh, he was seventh of eight in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, over 17 lengths behind winner Helvic Dream.
Ballydoyle still seem to have faith in him with news of his supplementation in next week’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. I doubt there will be many punters showing that much faith.
This year’s winner, Adayar (pictured), will hopefully fare better. Although he went off at 16/1 after being well backed from 40/1, he stamped his authority on the race taking the lead two furlongs from home and demonstrated a powerful turn of foot.
So, an emphatic Derby winner who’s now being aimed at Ascot’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, where he’s 9/4 favourite with Paddy Power.
He joins a number of top-class entries, including Love (4/1), Snowfall (4/1), Mishriff (5/1), and Pyledriver (6/1).
A more than decent race if they all turn up but it’ll be a shot in the arm for the Ascot mid-summer championship, and just as much a boost for the Derby, if he can come out on top. Good too if Adam Kirby is in the saddle.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I hope the kids were watching”
Adam Kirby after winning the Derby on Adayar after being jocked-off his intended mount John Leeper, who was subsequently ridden by Frankie Dettori to finish ninth
The Derby TV audience holds its own
Heading to Epsom and the Derby on a sunny Saturday morning, one thing I knew would happen was that the TV audience would be down.
With a bit of easing of the lockdown, nice weather and more places to visit, those who could choose would probably not stay at home and watch TV.
It was about the only thing I did call correctly that afternoon.
The peak audience fell from 1.742m (2019) to 1.312m. But the audience share for ITV Racing’s coverage was 12.8%, up on 2019 and only a tad under 2018.
So, the good weather did reduce the overall number of people watching TV but the Derby commanded a bigger and the biggest slice of people tuning in.
World Pool boost for Derby Day
The Tote interacting with other pool operators where bets go into the World Pool is beginning to have a positive effect with its boosted liquidity.
The availability of the World Pool on Derby Day at Epson was a good example where betting was up from £1.7m in 2019 to this year’s £26m.
That said, there were on-course punters who were a little disgruntled that in 16-runner handicaps, eg the five-furlong Dash, the Tote were only paying out on three places instead of four to fit in with other jurisdictions’ technical capabilities.
Mind you, a seven-runner race pays out three places – I wonder how many tickets were discarded by unknowing punters when a horse finished third.
Our time with the Kentucky Kid
Those who are hailed as “overnight sensations” will point to the many years of hard graft which resulted in their sudden recognition.
Steve Cauthen did make a sudden impact, but his years of learning the art of being a jockey started at the age of 12 when he decided that his career would be riding racehorses. His arrival as an accomplished jockey was in his fifteenth year.
Five days after his debut race, when his ride on a no-hoper was noticed as a decent effort, he rode his first winner. It was the first of many and Cauthen would become one of the most famous sports personalities in the US.
However, after many triumphs in the States, his fortunes declined, culminating in a losing streak of 110 races.
In Britain meanwhile, there was a small group of racing’s elite who were keen to engage the services of Cauthen and bring him across ‘The Pond’.
With his weight beginning to become an issue in the States, Cauthen agreed to take his chance on British tracks. He was 19.
Those who secured his transatlantic trip were owner Robert Sangster, trainer Barry Hills and former jockey Jimmy Lindley. Their view that Cauthen would be an asset on the twists, turns and undulations of British tracks were quickly proved correct.
His first British ride was at Salisbury – as far removed as you can get from the flat, oval dirt tracks of the States – and he won. His 14-year ‘English Odyssey’ was underway.
In the new book Steve Cauthen: English Odyssey author Michael Tanner chronicles the Kentucky Kid’s remarkable success both in Britain and also Ireland and Europe.
Winning the Derby at Epson – creating a unique double as he’d already won the Kentucky Derby – is one of the many standout achievements in those 14 years.
And there are plenty more of note, such as Derby victories in France, Ireland and Italy; three jockey championships, to join his champions title in the US; and, on Oh So Sharp, landing the fillies’ “Triple Crown”.
With generous scatterings of quotes from Cauthen himself, who is now 60, adding first-hand background, Tanner charts 14 years of remarkable success.
Perhaps, because there’s so much that Cauthen achieved, there are times when some of the scene-setting detail could be sacrificed. But that’s a nit-pick.
The US decline experienced by Cauthen fortuitously led to British racing witnessing one of the sport’s most natural talents.
Steve Cauthen: English Odyssey captures Cauthen’s superlative time on these shores which held racing enthusiasts spellbound and it’s a treat to be reminded just how lucky we were to have his company.
♦Steve Cauthen: English Odyssey is published by Racing Post, £19.99
Ireland’s call – to support England
With no participation by the Republic of Ireland in football’s delayed Euro 2020, bookmaker Paddy Power is trying to get the Irish to support England and, in turn, have a flutter on the Three Lions.
As an incentive, Paddy Power will donate €10,000 to Irish soccer clubs (as opposed to GAA football clubs) for every goal scored by England.
That doubles to €20,000 if goals are scored by Jack Grealish or Declan Rice, both of whom were eligible to play for the Republic. It’s known as the “backstabbers bonus”.
I did wonder if it might be more lucrative for Irish soccer clubs to receive €10,000 every time Scotland conceded a goal.