A fourth-place finish in his first race of 2021 was followed up by a victory in the Chester Vase Stakes at Chester, where he was much improved.
However, this came on soft ground and on faster turf, he had missed out on the places. The going in the Derby was Good to Soft and he couldn't use this to his advantage.
Youth Spirit's odds had drifted slightly ahead of the Derby, moving out to 25/1 from 20/1. He started strongly and tracked the leaders before being pushed along over three furlongs out. However, he lost position with two furlongs to go and quickly faded, finishing 19 lengths behind the winner Adayar.
The final race of his two-year-old season was on July 28 in the Group Two Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. He finished in third place, over three lengths behind the winner, after being squeezed out at the start and having to chase the leaders for the majority of the race.
His most recent race prior to Epsom was on May 5 - a victory in the Group Three Chester Vase Stakes at Chester, which was of almost identical length to the Derby. It was a strong race for the colt as he tracked the leaders early and kept close throughout, making movements up to second over one furlong from home before taking the lead and holding on in the final 110 yards.
Youth Spirit is generally ridden by Oisin Murphy, a young and highly successful Irish jockey who has been with the Kingsclere stable since 2012. However, for the Derby, he was raced by Tom Marquand, who had guided him to success last time out at Chester.
Marquand was in solid form, having won the Champion Stakes last year with Addeybb. He also won the St Leger in 2020 with Galileo Chrome, which marked his first Classic win. Over the last five years, he has a 12% win percentage in British Flat racing. In last year's Derby, Marquand finished second on 50/1 shot Khalifa Sat.
Youth Spirit is owned by Ahmad Al Shaikh, who also owns Dirham Emirati and Almohandesah. He has currently secured 18 wins from 152 races in the last five years.