‘Disappointing but understandable’ says Rob Hornby on losing Westover ride | Horse Racing News

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

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Rob Hornby: will not ride Irish Derby favorite Westover at the Curragh on Saturday

Rob Hornby: will not ride Irish Derby favorite Westover at the Curragh on Saturday

Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

By Chris Cook, senior reporter

Rob Hornby has spoken of his disappointment at losing the ride on Westover in Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby but understands why Juddmonte, the horse’s owners, have decided to go with Colin Keane.

The colt is favorite for the Classic at a best price of 6-4, having been unlucky in running on his way to finishing third in the Cazoo Derby just over a fortnight ago.

“You can only be disappointed,” Hornby told the Racing Post on Tuesday, “but it’s also understandable they are turning to the services of a three-time Irish champion jockey who has a great deal of experience around the Curragh.

“Obviously, Colin’s got a good relationship with Juddmonte and he’s ridden them a lot of winners and he’s a very talented jockey. These things happen. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last.”

Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos)

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Colin Keane (left): will ride Irish Derby favorite Westover at the Curragh on Saturday

Colin Keane (left): will ride Irish Derby favorite Westover at the Curragh on Saturday

Caroline Norris (racingpost.com/photos)

Hornby expects to be riding at Windsor on Saturday but will send his best wishes with Westover, who carries the hopes of the jockey’s friends and co-workers at Ralph Beckett’s Hampshire stable.

“I’m disappointed for myself but, for the whole team at Kimpton, he’s going to be going there with a favorite’s chance and he couldn’t be going there in better shape.

“I rode him in a routine bit of work on Monday. We’re very happy with him, he’s absolutely bouncing, in great nick. He deserves to win a Group 1 and I hope he can go on and do the business and win. “

Reflecting on Westover’s luckless run up the straight at Epsom, Hornby said: “Immediately afterwards, there was a bit of disappointment. Processing and digesting it, I don’t think I would have won but I think I was unlucky not to be second.

“There was a gap but it closed quicker than I could get into it. That’s Epsom, that’s horseracing and it’s nice the horse has come out of the race really well.”

Those traffic problems were not the reason Keane has been booked, according to the general manager of Juddmonte, Barry Mahon.

“There’s nothing malicious behind this,” he said. “I personally think Rob rode the horse beautifully in Epsom. No horse has won the Epsom Derby from stall two since stalls were introduced in the race. And the reason is, what happened to him; you get stuck on the rail and, when you ‘re looking for a gap, the horses on your outside are rolling down on top of you.

“That was purely unlucky for the horse and for Rob. I think he’s ridden him excellently every time he’s been on him. He’s been an integral part of the team, riding him work at home, including on Monday.

“Rob’s ridden a lot of winners for us and will continue to do so, there is no doubt. On this particular day, it’s a different track, it can be a very tactical race, as we’ve seen in years gone by. So we felt that having a three-time Irish champion jockey who’s ridden Classic winners at the Curragh and rides there on a weekly basis would be a benefit to the horse.”

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Westover (left): was a luckless third behind Desert Crown in the Derby at Epsom

Westover (left): was a luckless third behind Desert Crown in the Derby at Epsom

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Mahon added: “It’s going to be a very good renewal. Tuesday is obviously a high-class filly. She’s an Oaks winner, placed in two Guineas. She’s going to get a 3lb allowance, which is going to make it a very interesting race And David Menuisier’s horse Lionel is also held in very high regard and has been since Goodwood.

“Hopefully, Westover has progressed since Epsom and can step up on Saturday. He’s a beautiful horse, big and imposing, who’s going to keep improving with time. I think Prince Khalid’s family are mindful of that and don’t want to jeopardise a four -year-old career by over-racing him this year.

“You would think the track will suit him. You have to factor in that he’s traveling a long way over from England.”

Beckett confirmed he is pleased with the horse. “Westover is training well since Epsom,” he said. “I’m happy with his condition of him and his work of him. He goes to the Curragh on Saturday with all our ducks in a row. We’re looking forward to it. The ground and track will certainly suit him.”

Paddy Power: 6-4 Westover, 7-4 Tuesday, 7 Stone Age, 8 Hannibal Barca, 10 Changingoftheguard, Lionel, Piz Badile, 16 Buckaroo 25 bar

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