A massive public gamble was landed at Britain's Epsom Downs on Saturday when Kris Kin came late to secure a decisive victory in the Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I).
The son of Kris S, bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings, was backed from 12-1 to 6-1 before supplying trainer Sir Michael Stoute with his third win in the race and jockey Kieren Fallon his second.
Owner Saeed Suhail had paid £90,000 to supplement Kris Kin for the race, even though he had been entered originally as a yearling at a cost of only £310 and subsequently scratched last autumn.
"I took him out originally because I didn't think he'd be mature enough for Epsom. He's kept surprising us because he really is one of the laziest horses I have ever trained."
Lazy he may be, but Kris Kin had the perfect partner in Kieren Fallon – a jockey who simply refuses to let his horses shirk a challenge.
That much became clear to a packed and delighted Epsom crowd when Fallon switched Kris Kin away from the rails to produce a driving finish that saw him wear down long-time leader The Great Gatsby to secure victory by a length.
A short head behind them in third was the 4-1 shot Alamshar, who struggled to match the winner's finishing kick, while Norse Dancer, who was last early on, plugged on to take fourth.
Stoute praised Fallon's part in the win, saying: "Kieren produced one of the great Epsom Derby rides.
"During the race I was happy to see that Kieren had been able to get him into a good position by the top of the hill, and then when he started to improve coming down the hill I was getting a bit hopeful.
"Two furlongs out I was sure he was going to run a big race and get pretty close , but it was not until right at the end that I realised he was going to win."
It seems some things matter even more than winning the Derby. Asked if he was going to celebrate, Stoute said: "Probably not. I've got a game of cricket tomorrow !"
Fallon, meanwhile, said: "Everything went his way today. He got a couple of bumps but was man enough to hold his position when it got rough. Coming down the hill, I asked him to dig deep and he answered me well. He found another gear and has done it well."
A maximum field for the Derby produced surprisingly few hard luck stories. Refuse To Bend, the Two Thousand Guineas winner, was sent off the 11-4 favorite but was never really traveling smoothly. "He possibly didn't stay," said his jockey Pat Smullen. "It was a bridge too far."
Pat Eddery, at 51 the oldest jockey in the race, was delighted with the performance of The Great Gatsby, who came mightily close to giving his trainer Aidan O'Brien a record third successive Derby win.
"I couldn't have asked for better," he said. "I could have done with a little bit softer ground, but he's run a great race and I can't complain."
Kris Kin's win ended a run of three straight wins for Irish-trained horses, although long time Derby favorite Alamshar stayed on to take third. "He didn't travel as well as I thought he would," said jockey John Murtagh.
Produced from the Rainbow Quest mare Angel in My Heart, Kris Kin has three wins from four starts to his credit, including a group III victory previous to his Derby win.