John Leeper as short as 6-1 for emotional Cazoo Derby success for trainer Ed Dunlop who named horse after his late dad

THE Derby Dream is still well and truly alive for trainer Ed Dunlop and his rising star John Leeper.

The colt is named after his late father, John Leeper Dunlop, and now only 7-1 for the Cazoo Derby on June 5.


A son of Frankel and out of Dunlop's globetrotting Snow Fairy, there could not be a horse on paper the family would love to see shine at Epsom.

A taking winner on his return on the all weather at Newcastle, he took his form to new levels with an impressive win in the Listed Betway Fairway Stakes at Newmarket.

Sent off the 6-4 jolly, John Leeper pulled like a train early on and ensured jockey Will Buick earned his fee.

He finally settled and Buick hit the front with Tasman Bay who was also going well.

But as the leading pair came out of the infamous Rowley Mile dip, John Leeper really came into his own and ate up the hill.

He streaked clear and ran out a cosy one-and-three-quarter lengths winner.

Dunlop said: "It’s named after my dad so that is about as much pressure as you can get.

"William Buick said it was a farce of a race as they trotted for however long. He was a little bit keen and fresh and inexperienced but he can only get better with more racing.

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"I’m sure the owner will want to go to Epsom and she has had the dream to do it and as long as he is okay that is what we will do.

“William was good and he said I’m not going to hang about here as this horse has not done very much.

"The form of the race was good and though he will need to step forward again I think he deserves to go to Epsom as long as he is okay and conditions are right. I’m very pleased with the horse and for Mrs Patino particularly.

“This is only hopefully the start of a horse that will do well in the future. These are more battle-hardened horses than him and he has beaten them. I was very surprised when the owner said she was going to name him after my dad but she has loved the horse since he was born and he is a beautiful horse.

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"It is a great honour for the horse to be named after my father so let’s hope he can live up to that.

"We’ve got through this stage but there are plenty more to go. He is very immature just look at the size of him and he needs more practice which is probably what you don’t want to hear going into a Derby but he has run three times in his life but he is going the right way so we will see how we go."

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