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GULFSTREAM TIPS Templegate’s top tips for the US racing action at Gulfstream Park
“As everyone knows he won the Derby twice, I’ve only managed fifth, three times.
“But look, it will be an emotional day for us all to even be there, let alone if he runs a big race or dare I say win the thing. A Derby winner named after my father, I couldn’t put into words what that would mean.”
It’s not just the family connection that has the film directors purring, the colours and the breeding only add to the storylines.
John Leeper’s dam is Snow Fairy, Dunlop’s brillant 2010 Oaks winner. Ryan Moore was on board that day, but Dettori was a regular pilot on the superstar later in her globetrotting career.
So now 11 years later, the story has gone full circle with Dettori back in the yellow and red colours of Mrs Patino on the biggest stage of all.
And like all good films, a late twist only adds to the drama.
Dunlop said: “Frankie is Frankie, once he became available I was asked to put the question to him.
“He rode Snow Fairy for us and Mrs Patino was always hopeful of getting him to ride John Leeper at some point.
“We tried to get him a few weeks back but he’s been riding for Aidan in England this year. Of course it’s not how we wanted it to happen but it’s a no-brainer to have Frankie.
“He came in on Thursday morning for the first time and said he was a lovely horse, well-balanced and he was excited to ride him.
“It would have been a bit embarrassing if he’d said he didn’t like him, mind you!”
Like a lot of the big meetings and races, the Irish have dominated the Derby in recent years.
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