28 May 2023

The Foxes would be a poignant Derby winner for Balding and King Power

28 May 2023

It has been 52 years since Mill Reef won the Betfred Derby from Park House Stables, but Andrew Balding is dreaming of ending the Kingsclere’s long wait for another Epsom champion with Dante hero The Foxes.

Balding of course landed the opening Classic of the season when Chaldean triumphed in the 2000 Guineas, but is still searching for his first win in the calendar’s premier contest having gone close with both Khalifa Sat in 2020 and Hoo Ya Mal 12 months ago.

Not only would a victory for The Foxes provide Balding with a first Derby success, it would be a first British Classic triumph for owners King Power Racing, the racing arm of the owners of Leicester City Football Club.

King Power Racing’s founder Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2018 and not only is Balding keen to restore Kingsclere into the story of the Derby, he believes a triumph for The Foxes would be a “fitting tribute to a great man” and a great supporter of the yard.

He said: “We have a rich Derby heritage here at Park House Stables and it has been quiet for more than 50 years now. It is something we want to put right one day and hopefully The Foxes is that horse.

“It is a wonderful race with a rich history that is ever evolving. There is a new chapter every year written about it and it would be lovely to think he could headline that next chapter.

“King Power Racing have been extremely good to me since they started and they have given me strong support since they became involved in racing.

“He (Srivaddhanaprabha) had a huge vision and this would have given him immense satisfaction as the whole thing was to play at the highest level.

“To have had a horse that is a worthy contender for the Derby is what he set out to try and achieve. I’m sure he would be very proud and it would be a fitting tribute to a great man if he did win a Derby.”

Balding has saddled 10 runners in the Derby since he began his training career and although twice taking home a silver medal and also seeing Kameko sent off favourite on the Surrey Downs in 2020, he considers The Foxes to be the stable’s best chance yet of claiming the top prize.

He continued: “From the two that were second – Khalifa Sat and Hoo Ya Mal – The Foxes goes in there with far better credentials than they had. Kameko started the race favourite, and he deserved to be, as he was a 2000 Guineas winner but as history now tells us he didn’t stay.

“Bangkok went there as a Sandown Classic Trial winner and he went there as a lively outsider, but I think this is the best chance we have had.”

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