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    04 June 2023

    King Of Steel Comes Close to Derby Glory

    Roger Varian’s King of Steel almost caused a huge upset at the Betfred Derby, coming close to becoming the first horse since Shaamit in 1996 to win the race on their debut season. Despite starting as a rank outsider at 66-1, this strapping son of Wootton Bassett showed his class and came within touching distance of victory.

    A Heartbreaking Loss for Trainer Roger Varian

    Although King of Steel was unable to hold off Auguste Rodin in the final stretch, there were still many positives for trainer Roger Varian. This is not his first time coming close – he had previously seen Kingston Hill caught up by Australia back in 2014. However, this loss was just as heartbreaking for him.

    “I knew he was good,” said Varian after the race. I’m gutted but that’s horse racing.” He went on to mention that although disappointed, he felt comforted knowing that both himself and jockey Kevin Stott’s high opinion of King Of Steel has been justified.

    An Unconventional Route to Epsom

    The route taken by King Of Steel leading up to Epsom was rather unconventional compared with other horses participating in The Derby. After being withdrawn from an intended outing at Dante due to reservations about his fitness level, he arrived directly at Epsom having passed only one stalls test at Leicester earlier this week.

    This lack of activity did not seem detrimental though; rather it appeared beneficial according to Varian: “not having a hard race two and a half weeks out… can benefit them – look at Chaldean.”

    Jockey Kevin Stott Reflects on Missed Opportunity

    Jockey Kevin Stott had mixed emotions after the race. “I think from every jockey’s perspective, you hit the front in the Derby and a few emotions and a few thoughts go through your head,” he said.

    Stott pondered if perhaps he went too early on King Of Steel: “I’m obviously kicking myself a little bit, thinking I might have gone a little bit too early on him, but then again he hasn’t had a run before this year and that might just have caught him out.”

    Final Thoughts

    The performance of King Of Steel was undoubtedly impressive given his lack of experience leading up to The Derby. Although it wasn’t quite enough to secure first place, it still marked an important milestone in his racing career.

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