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'I am taking my time coming down to earth'

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Serpentine and Emmet McNamara leave the field in their wake to win the Epsom Derby last Saturday. Photo: Bill Selwyn/Pool via Getty Images

Serpentine and Emmet McNamara leave the field in their wake to win the Epsom Derby last Saturday. Photo: Bill Selwyn/Pool via Getty Images

Getty Images

Serpentine and Emmet McNamara leave the field in their wake to win the Epsom Derby last Saturday. Photo: Bill Selwyn/Pool via Getty Images

In the old days, they would have nailed a poster of Emmet McNamara to notice boards and furlong poles across the land: "Wanted - the man who stole the Derby." And if he did not actually steal it, at the very least he found a £50 note on the road and did the more morally acceptable thing of picking it up and putting it in his pocket.

Coronavirus has turned many things on their heads, including last week's month-late Investec Derby, in which the previously unheralded jockey, aided by his very willing partner Serpentine, gave one of the best displays of front-running in recent times to come home five lengths clear of a field that was never nearer. That happens occasionally - but not in the world's greatest Flat race.

After the big story in the build-up to the race was the jocking-off of Tom Marquand on English King, the favourite, in favour of the vastly more experienced Frankie Dettori, whose 25th Derby spin it was, the irony was that it was McNamara's first ride at Epsom, let alone in the Derby.