At the age of 36, Danny Tudhope will be the oldest of the five jockeys riding in tomorrow’s Cazoo Derby for the first time when he partners Grand Alliance, but he is just as excited at the prospect as any of them.
Tudhope, who is based in North Yorkshire, challenged for the jockeys’ title in 2019 and has ridden plenty of top-level winners, both here and abroad, notably on Lord Glitters, Laurens, Mondialiste and Suedois, but a Derby ride has never before come his way.
The Charlie Fellowes-trained Grand Alliance is among the outsiders for the race, but the Churchill colt has course experience, having run Nahanni to half a length when second in the Listed Cazoo Blue Riband Trial at the Spring Meeting on April 19th.
Tudhope said: “I’ve usually been down at Epsom for the meeting, but it’s hard to find a Derby horse so I’ve had to wait for this. Of course, I’m very excited.
“I rode Grand Alliance when he won at Doncaster (in March). He was a bit quirky that day and hung across the track, but he’s quite a lazy, laidback horse and he’ll be grand. He’s run around Epsom before too, which is a help.”
Jockeys riding in The Derby for the first time receive a commemorative cap as a memento, and Tudhope joked that it is the main reason he has travelled south.
However, bigger-priced horses regularly creep into the frame in The Derby and Grand Alliance, who is currently trading at around 80-1, is by no means a hopeless case in that respect.
“You never know, you never know,” said Tudhope.
The other four jockeys having their first Derby ride in 2022 are Jason Watson (Masekela), Jason Hart (Royal Patronage), Rob Hornby (Westover) and Jack Mitchell (West Wind Blows).