Frankie Dettori snapped up to replace Adam Kirby on Ed Dunlop-trained John Leeper in the Derby at Epsom after Aidan O’Brien decides to run just hot favourite Bolshoi Ballet
- Dettori will replace Kirby on Dunlop-trained John Leeper in the Cazoo Derby
- Bolshoi Ballet, the mount of Ryan Moore, is O’Brien’s only intended runner
- Dettori was victorious on Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn in 2015
Frankie Dettori will replace Adam Kirby on Ed Dunlop-trained John Leeper in the Cazoo Derby after a day of dramatic day of twists in the build-up to Saturday’s Classic at Epsom.
Dettori had been linked with the ride on Aidan O’Brien-trained second favourite High Definition but the Derby’s most successful trainer dropped a bombshell when saying favourite Bolshoi Ballet, the mount of Ryan Moore, was now his only intended runner.
John Leeper will be a 26th Derby mount for 50-year-old Dettori, who was victorious on Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn in 2015.
Frankie Dettori has won the Derby with Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn (above) in 2015
Dettori won the Irish Champion Stakes in 2012 on John Leeper’s dam Snow Fairy.
Dunlop said: ‘Frankie was originally offered the ride on John Leeper and won the Irish Champion Stakes on his mother. He has a long association with his owner Mrs Patino. She is very fond of Frankie and they have had a lot of success together.
‘When the news emerged out of Ballydoyle I spoke to Mrs Patino and she said she wanted Frankie to ride John Leeper. I feel very sorry for Adam but this was an unexpected turn of events.’
John Leeper is an 8-1 shot for the Derby with Bolshoi Ballet now the Even money favourite.
Dettori will replace Adam Kirby on Ed Dunlop-trained John Leeper in Saturday’s Classic
O’Brien had eight Derby entries coming into this week. They were whittled down to six at Monday’s penultimate declaration stage.
Now High Definition, who has had an interrupted preparation, will be saved for the Irish Derby, Van Gogh, the Irish 2,000 Guineas third, heads to Sunday’s French Derby while Kyprios and Sir Lamorak are likely to run at Royal Ascot in the Queen’s Vase and the King Edward VII Stakes respectively.
His other entry, The Mediterranean, runs at Leopardstown on Thursday.
On the new plan for High Definition, O’Brien said: ‘A little more time won’t do him any harm.’
It will be the first time since Meath finished last in 2004 that eight-time Derby winner O’Brien has only had one runner in the Derby.
Dettori rides O’Brien’s Musidora Stakes winner Snowfall in Friday’s Oaks