Joorabchian likens Derby near-miss to Champions League penalty agony
Kia Joorabchian has likened King Of Steel’s Betfred Derby near-miss akin to “missing the last penalty in a Champions League final”.
The high-profile football agent and founder of Amo Racing saw the 66-1 chance collared late on by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Auguste Rodin at Epsom on Saturday, with the pair well clear of White Birch in third.
The Roger Varian-trained King Of Steel, an imposing son of Wootton Bassett, was having the first run of the season, having previously finished almost 10 lengths behind the winner in the Vertem Futurity Trophy over a mile at Doncaster last October.
He missed his intended Derby prep when failing to load into the stalls ahead of the Dante Stakes at York.
Kevin Stott, having his first ride in the Classic, poached a lead with two furlongs to run, only for Ryan Moore’s mount to overcome the deficit inside the last half-furlong.
It was the second big-price runner-up finish in the last three renewals of the blue riband for the owner, whose distinctive purple colours had come close to landing the Derby with Mojo Star, a 50-1 runner-up to Adayar in 2021.
“I was delighted,” Joorabchian said King Of Steel’s half-length defeat. “Although I feel like I’ve done a few rounds with Mike Tyson!
“It was great. He had a fantastic run. We loved him from the first day we found him in Keeneland.
“He was a big horse – he looked bigger than everything else there and he still is. Roger loved him all this year.
“We had an unfortunate incident in the Dante, but we knew what we had on our hands at home.
“He was a big price. Mojo was a big price. Maybe the next Derby they won’t price us out at 100-1.”
He added: “You have got to remember this was just the third run in his life – and actually it was Mojo’s third run in his life, so maybe there’s something about that. You know a good horse when you have one and this is a good horse.”
Asked to compare his emotions with his football experiences, he laughed: “It is like missing the last penalty in a Champions League final – that’s what it felt like!”