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Captain Haddock not for catching in Amateur’s Derby

Henry Main steered Captain Haddock to a victory he is unlikely ever to forget in the Amateurs’ Derby at Epsom.

Trained by the rider’s aunt, Heather Main, Captain Haddock was a 5-1 shot to strike gold in a mile-and-a-half handicap that has previously been won by record-breaking amateurs like Patrick Mullins and Jamie Codd.

Cemhaan, ridden by Matthew Ennis, was the 6-5 favourite, but he did his chances no favours by completely blowing the start, which briefly left him adrift of the field.

The market leader – owned by the rider’s parents Charles and Claire together with his godmother, Louisa Talbot – made inroads to move into contention from the home turn, but was ultimately unable to reel in Captain Haddock, with Main, 18, punching the air as he and his mount passed the post with four lengths in hand.

A picture to take pride of place in the Main family album
A picture to take pride of place in the Main family album (PA)

Main said: “I kind of felt like I was dreaming. It is the stuff of dreams. I love the horse to bits. I can’t thank my parents enough and Louisa. It is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had, put it that way.

“I got him out and he got in a nice position behind Simon’s (Walker) horse (Great Esteem) and he was flat out the whole way really.

“I thought going into the straight we would be outpaced, but he changed gear and he did it really well. He was pricking his ears going to the line and it is a bit of a dream really doing it on this course.

“My parents own the horse with Louisa Talbot and my aunt is the trainer, so it is a family affair and it feels great.

“Not until the moment I crossed the finish line did I think I had won, as I had a feeling something was going to come and get me.”

While Main can now boast a victory at Epsom Downs on his CV, his next ambition involves switching codes.

He added: “My next goal is to have a first ride over jumps. I did a lot of pony racing and had 60 rides pony racing and got the bug for it then.

“That is where it all started really. It is great my dad owns the horse and he has taught me a lot.

“This is a bit of a fairytale.”

William Muir enjoyed Coronation Cup glory earlier in the season with stable star Pyledriver – but was almost equally as thrilled to land the seven-furlong Stanley Wootton Handicap with Firepower.

Muir, who trains in partnership with Chris Grassick, said of the 13-2 winner: “This means a lot and the Coronation Cup is just in front of it.

“Pyledriver is dead easy and is like driving a train and this one is not. It took every bit of thought I’ve had since starting training in 1990 to get him right and hopefully the horse can continue.

“I’m absolutely buzzing. This is the biggest feat I’ve had as he has just been a horse that has taken me time to get him to just chill out, but he has now got there.

“Coming here today after Newbury I thought ‘we are in business’. The lads that ride him have done a fantastic job on him as he is so chilled out now.

“The horse has an immense amount of ability it has just been about getting his mind right.”