If the trail destiny selected for Kevin Stott had been completely different, the 29-year-old jockey might need been dreaming about Premier League titles and FA Cups.
As an alternative, the Danish-born rider has a glittering version of Saturday’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot in his sights.
Stott companions Derby runner-up King Of Metal, whose rematch with Auguste Rodin, the horse that beat him at Epsom, is just one of an interesting clutch of threads in a contest the jockey understandably describes as ‘the Flat race of the season’.
However there was a time when Stott, whose father Ken was an apprentice jockey in Newmarket earlier than shifting to Scandinavia the place he rode and skilled, was extra curious about goalposts than furlong poles.
The rider stated: ‘I had Below 14 trials at Tottenham. It appears like a lifetime in the past now. I don’t give it some thought anymore however I performed lots of soccer after I was younger.
Kevin Stott seeks glory at Ascot on Saturday, however he may have ended up in a unique sport
He may have performed for Tottenham alongside Harry Kane (pictured) after having a two-week trial for the Premier League aspect’s Below 14s squad when he was a teenager
‘Taking part in in Denmark at a excessive stage, we went around the globe on excursions. I used to be fortunate sufficient to get scouted whereas I used to be enjoying in a event in Holland.
‘I went on a two-week trial at Spurs however sadly it didn’t work out. After I got here again I had a yr left in class and wasn’t certain what I needed to do.
‘Faculty wasn’t very thrilling for me. After I stated to Dad that I used to be considering of driving horses as a result of it was a simple means of not having to spend time in class, he instantly despatched me over to Britain.’
Stott was primarily based with Yorkshire coach Kevin Ryan, a profitable partnership that produced victories such because the 2020 Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes with Whats up Youmzain. However on the again of a career-best 116 wins final yr, Stott determined the time was proper to take his probability on the southern circuit.
He moved to Lambourn with companion Megan Nicholls, the daughter of the 14-time champion jumps coach Paul Nicholls, who additionally turned his agent.
Stott has been working scorching ever since. He already has 72 wins and greater than £1.7million in British prizemoney thanks largely to being the retained jockey for King Of Metal’s house owners Amo Racing, the operation of high-profile soccer agent Kia Joorabchian.
Stott stated: ‘It was clearly a giant factor for me having began within the north and carried out properly. I had had a stint with Luca Cumani in Newmarket that didn’t prove the way in which I had hoped, so I went again up north, bought going once more and rode some very nice horses.
‘To then resolve to maneuver to Lambourn and alter brokers was a giant deal. However I assumed it was the suitable time for me and I used to be able to attempt one thing a bit completely different. I’m glad now that I did.
‘I’ll at all times look again and realise how fortunate I used to be within the north and be grateful to the trainers and proprietor who bought me going. They began my profession. Kevin was my boss for a very long time and I rode my first Group One winner for him. We stay excellent buddies.’
Stott’s victories this summer time have included the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on King Of Metal plus final week’s Group Two Duchess of Cambridgeshire Stakes at Newmarket on Persian Dreamer.
Stott companions Derby runner-up King of Metal whose rematch with Auguste Rodin, the horse that beat him at Epsom, helps makes it the ‘Flat race of the season’
Stott has one jockey brother Marc who continues to be driving in Scandinavia and a second, Nicholaj, working for Newmarket coach William Haggas after he rode and skilled in his homeland. Now as he approaches his 30s, Stott added: ‘To be observed extra recurrently, it’s a must to be driving within the higher races. They’re the races that folks watch.
‘I’ve had rides prior to now in large races however it’s extra common this yr. It has boosted my profession and moved it a step ahead.
‘I made the choice to come back south as a contract after which inside a few months I bought the Amo job. It was not one thing I anticipated. Trying again, it’s fairly surreal how a little bit change can result in such a giant change.’
Just about the one factor Stott would change within the final six months is his half-length defeat within the Derby.
King Of Metal’s loss was a bitter capsule to swallow, particularly after the colt had grabbed a lead of greater than two lengths with lower than a quarter-mile to race. The third-placed horse White Birch was nearly 5 lengths behind.
Stott was the definition of crestfallen after the Traditional and the inevitable hypothesis was about whether or not King Of Metal having to race at Epsom on his seasonal debut — he refused to enter the beginning stalls for his prep-race within the Dante Stakes at York — had performed an element.
Stott stated: ‘Everybody desires to win the Derby. It’s the largest race of the yr. I’ve watched the replay few occasions and nonetheless do, however I wouldn’t have modified something I did.
‘We simply bought run down by the higher horse on the day. Between the three and two furlong pole I used to be in entrance by two-and-a-bit lengths, subsequent factor I used to be screaming for the end line.
‘Individuals say if King Of Metal had run within the Dante, what would have occurred? We’ll by no means know however no less than we get a second probability to see if we will flip it round. However it’s certainly not a two-horse race. There are such a lot of high-quality horses in there.’
Avenging that Epsom defeat is Stott’s purpose and he’s inspired that King Of Metal backed up his Derby run with a three-and-a-half-length Royal Ascot victory the jockey reckons would have been much more spectacular if the early phases of the competition hadn’t been run at a snail’s tempo.
However he’s additionally proper to say this season’s King George isn’t any match race. Additionally within the line-up is final yr’s Derby winner Desert Crown, the 2022 King George winner Pyledriver, Eclipse Stakes runner-up Emily Upjohn and 2022 Coronation Cup winner Hukum.
Stott stated: ‘It’s in all probability the Flat race of the season to this point. We’ve got all the perfect horses in there, confirmed and up-and-coming ones, however I’ve a lot of religion in my horse.’