When Richard Kingscote took the decision to leave his old ally Tom Dascombe and join forces with Sir Michael Stoute, only in his wildest dreams could he have imagined he would be riding the Cazoo Derby favourite Desert Crown the following spring.
Kingscote knew that when taking the job he would be playing second fiddle to Ryan Moore whenever the former champion was free from his commitment to Aidan O’Brien, but given Moore is in Ireland most weekends, Kingscote would still be picking up some good rides.
However, in recent years Stoute has been quiet by his exceedingly high standards and many felt Kingscote had made the wrong move given when aligned with Dascombe he was guaranteed a healthy stream of winners every year.
Fast forward 10 months and Dascombe is no longer inhabiting Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables, having to start afresh in Lambourn, and Kingscote is now sitting pretty on Desert Crown, the general 2-1 market leader for Epsom.
Having been an ante-post gamble in the week prior to his reappearance, some eyebrows were raised at Derby odds around the 6-1 mark when all the Nathaniel colt had on his CV to date was win a Nottingham maiden in November.
As the Al Basti Equiworld-sponsored Dante approached at York, confidence appeared to wain, especially when Stoute admitted his preparation had been far from smooth with a setback earlier in the spring.
But Stoute has not achieved what he has by being far from the mark when he thinks he has a good one and Desert Crown put to bed a good field with ease, coming home three and a quarter lengths clear of the Acomb winner Royal Patronage with O’Brien’s Bluegrass a further two and a half away.
Far from being carried away by the experience, Kingscote appeared to be taking it all in his stride. Just as his mount did.
“He was very relaxed, I got him into a nice rhythm, we moved well into the straight and he did everything I asked him, I was pleased,” said Kingscote.
“It’s still early days for him, but after a performance like that you hope things can be exciting. Of course Ryan’s horse in Ireland (Stone Age) was very impressive and going to a Derby is always going to be difficult.
“Horses are all individuals and sometimes you can think they are going to improve a lot and they don’t quite improve as much as you would think.
“He’s done well from two to three, I was taken with how well he’s filled out and they’ve done a great job with him.
“Absolutely this is exciting for me and I’m in a very privileged position to be able to work under Sir Michael and Ryan, I’ve been lucky Ryan had one in the race today and people were nice enough to let me on. Fortunately I delivered on that so I’m very pleased.”
Kingscote, despite being one of the elder weighing-room statesmen, has only had one Derby ride to date, and it did not go well.
“I’ve had one ride in the Derby for Harry Dunlop who had won the Lingfield Derby Trial (Knight To Behold in 2018). It was no good, it didn’t go so well (11th of 12),” he said.
“I was in front a long time today so I think we can forgive him drifting to his right so I’m not totally concerned about that.
“I’ve no issue about going up in trip, he ran right through the line and is very relaxed so he’s answered quite a few questions and has done it in a likeable manner.”