Apprentice 'delighted to be riding in a big race like the Derby'
Paddy Pilley said he was delighted to be riding in the Investec Derby after the 19-year-old was handed the mount on 1,000-1 no-hoper Diore Lia as the saga took another twist on Thursday.
The participation of the filly had been in doubt on Wednesday night after the BHA intervened to prevent Gina Mangan, an apprentice with one win to her name, taking the ride because of her inexperience.
But after threatening to abort the mission owner-breeder Richard Aylward decided to push ahead with his effort to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and she was declared in a 19-strong field with Pilley, also an apprentice, aboard.
Pilley, who is six years younger than Mangan and attached to Roger Charlton's yard, has ridden 39 winners, including five in Australia during the winter, and has also ridden at Epsom four times. The BHA said they had no objections to his involvement.
Pilley said: "I heard about it this morning. The owner rang me. I told my agent and spoke to Mr Charlton, and he was happy for me to take the ride. I wasn't expecting to get the ride but I'm delighted to be riding in a big race like the Derby.
"She is running for charity so hopefully they will get lots of donations which are for a good cause."
The participation of Diore Lia, a twice-raced maiden with a Racing Post Rating of 52, has been questioned by other professionals, who fear she could impede her opponents, even before Mangan was set to ride.
Pilley added: "I will be trying to give her a good ride and try to achieve the best possible result. I won't be interfering with anyone, that's for sure.
"I wouldn't say Epsom is a difficult course to ride. You need a horse that can handle it. I'm excited to be riding in the race. It's a great opportunity for a 5lb claimer."
Aylward bred Diore Lia, who will carry the colours of his sister Mary Todd, and said he did not want to give up on his dream with money already pledged on a Just Giving page which on Thursday had risen to £311.
"How could I stop the horse running when there have been donations coming from America," he said. "The charity is the number one. That's why I started this over a year ago. They're not stopping us running over this.
"Poor Gina has been crying up in the yard. I'm disgusted with the BHA for what they have done. It was okay for Victoria Pendleton to go round Cheltenham after riding a bike all her life. It's elitist.
"The horse is 52 rated. There have been loads of other low-rated horses. She's an improver. She's not going to come last. All I can hope for now is she runs a great race and does me proud."
Endorsing Pilley's participation BHA chief regulatory officer Jamie Stier said: "The BHA considers it appropriate to accept the declaration of Patrick Pilley to take the ride on Diore Lia in the Derby.
"Mr Pilley's experience as an apprentice jockey includes over 450 rides and 39 winners, plus four rides at Epsom.
"He has been given a positive reference by his trainer, Roger Charlton, as to his ability, temperament, and suitability to take part in the Derby, alongside his BHA jockey coach, John Reid."
Who is Paddy Pilley?
Paddy Pilley competed in pony races and was 12 when he started riding out for Martin Bosley in Buckinghamshire. The trainer was impressed enough to help Pilley join Mick Channon's yard three years later.
After two wins from 40 rides in 2014, the apprentice flourished at West Ilsley, recording 25 successes the following year, including three on the Giles Bravery-trained Subtle Knife.
Down to claiming 5lb, Pilley managed only five wins in Britain last year and after a spell with Geoffrey Deacon decided to try his luck in Australia, joining trainer Nigel Blackiston at Flemington in Melbourne.
The recommendation came from weighing-room colleague Oisin Murphy and it proved a fruitful one. Pilley, who is not from a racing background, partnered five winners from 60 rides during his three-month stint in Victoria.
Pilley considered staying but saw Roger Charlton was advertising for an apprentice and got the job.
The young rider, who has 12 winners left of his 5lb claim, is waiting to ride a winner for his new boss but has already struck twice for trainer Scott Dixon.
He said recently: "I'm sitting on good horses every morning at Mr Charlton's and I'm learning plenty. My agent is working hard for me and we're trying to get the ball rolling. The main target is to establish myself again in Britain."