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Desert Crown in glorious Derby victory

Memories of 1981 have come flooding back for Sir Michael Stoute as Desert Crown stormed to success in the Derby to provide the master trainer with his sixth victory in the world’s most celebrated horse race.

It was in that year that Stoute first struck gold at Epsom with the incomparable Shergar.

Yet the 2022 model, a lightly-raced son of Nathaniel, did his best impression of the great horse on Saturday as Richard Kingscote produced a textbook effort in the saddle for a first British Classic win on just his second Derby ride.

Desert Crown was posted wide in mid-division in the early stages as Kingscote strived to settle the 5-2 favourite in the ideal position.

His class soon saw him tracking the Ballydoyle trio of Changingoftheguard, Star Of India and Stone Age, as well as the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained West Wind Blows, who had joined the Aidan O’Brien runners in front rank.

The race was put to bed shortly into the home straight, with Kingscote electing not to wait any longer with the smooth travelling colt approaching the two-furlong pole, allowing his mount to stride to the front and lap up the adulation of the Epsom crowd.

He only needed to be ridden out to record a two-and-a-half-length victory from 150-1 outsider Hoo Ya Mal.

Ralph Beckett’s Westover can perhaps count himself unlucky in third having been held behind the fading early pacesetters.

But the day belonged to Stoute and Kingscote, with the Barbadian picking up his first Derby since Workforce’s victory in 2010.

Earlier, 40 of the Queen’s jockeys past and present lined up in a spectacular guard of honour for the royal party ahead of racing.

The greats of the saddle, dressed in the famous purple and gold silks, lined up on the steps overlooking the hat-box winner’s enclosure before heading on to the track to greet the Princess Royal and other members of the entourage.

The 96-year-old monarch did not attend the race but star jockey Frankie Dettori, said he was “honoured” to be among the riders.

Steve Cauthen, who won the Derby three times and was a regular in Her Majesty’s silks in the 1980s, flew in from Kentucky to be part of the parade.

He said: “It is a pity she can’t be here, but I’m sure she is watching on TV and we all send her our very best wishes. It was always an honour to put on these silks and it still is.”

The Queen was without a runner at Epsom, with one-time Derby hope Reach For The Moon ruled out of the Classic some weeks ago, but the royal silks were carried to victory at another race meeting in Worcester on Saturday by Steal A March.

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