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Derby runner-up Mojo Star has Irish equivalent on agenda, says Richard Hannon

Mon 7 Jun 2021

Cazoo Derby runner-up Mojo Star could bid to go one better in this month’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Having been beaten a nose and half a length on his first two career starts, the Sea The Stars colt was thrown in at the deep end by trainer Richard Hannon at Epsom on Saturday, but justified his place in the Derby field by beating all bar the Charlie Appleby-trained Adayar.

Speaking on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast on Monday, Hannon said: “He’s always been an extremely nice horse – one of the nicest we’ve had here for a long time.

“Yes, it was very brave running a maiden in the Derby – and most people agreed that we shouldn’t have been there, judging by his price (50-1). But he’s proved everybody wrong and he’s a very smart horse, which is nice.

“The winner had the perfect run. I’m not for one minute saying we’d have beaten the winner, but we were just stuck a little bit coming round Tattenham Corner – and we were running on right at the line."

Watch a full replay of the 2021 Cazoo Derby

While connections have the option of dropping back in class for a maiden, Hannon is keen to remain at the highest level, with a trip to the Curragh on June 26 likely to be next on Mojo Star’s agenda.

“He’s absolutely fine – and we’re looking for the next Derby, I suppose,” he added.

“It’s not an easy feat, but I’m not sure we’ve anything to gain by winning a novice or a maiden – and quite often these sort of horses get turned over at long odds-on in those sort of races.

“I think we’ll be looking at something like an Irish Derby or a King George, maybe. If you finish in the first three in the English Derby, you get a free go at the Irish Derby, so that’s got to be worth looking at.

“We’ve never had a horse finish that close in a Derby before. They’re extremely hard to find, these sort of horses, and you’ve got to keep hold of them and keep them racing as long as you can.

“I said to Kia Joorabchian – who owns the horse – before the Derby that next year’s his year. He’s always looked like a horse that, when he’s four, he could be something a little bit different.”

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