DERBY hero Mick Kinane had little time to savour the delights of his Epsom triumph aboard Commander In Chief on Wednesday, rushing off by helicopter and jet to ride that evening at the Curragh, where he was beaten on a 1-4 favourite. And yesterday, it was back to basics for the Irishman, with two booked rides at Clonmel. ''I must admit the thought had crossed my mind that I might give it a miss,'' said Kinane. ''But in all fairness, I had to go. I think we can put the celebrations on hold a little longer.'' Kinane, 33, consolidated his ranking as the ''mega sub'' in the jockeys' ranks worldwide when stepping in at the 11th hour to take the ride on Commander In Chief, a colt who had lived in the shadow of his more celebrated stablemate Tenby since the start of the season. It was Henry Cecil, trainer of both colts, who insisted to owner Prince Khalid Abdullah that Kinane should be brought in to partner whichever colt Pat Eddery discarded in the Derby, and for that the much-travelled Irish champion will be forever grateful. ''I want to thank Henry for the faith he has shown in me,'' Kinane said. ''He stuck his neck out to get me, and I feel now that I have done my part. In recent times, I feel we have developed a friendship - and mutual admiration.'' Kinane had never sat on Commander In Chief until seven days before the race, when it became apparent that the colt would be the supporting player to Tenby, who was eventually sent off the 4-5 favourite. ''From the first time I rode him I was impressed,'' Kinane said. ''Even though it was good to firm, Commander In Chief seemed to float over the ground without any effort. At breakfast that morning, Henry's wife Natalie asked me point-blank whether I preferred Commander In Chief or Armiger . . . I had no hesitation in saying Commander.'' Ironically perhaps, Kinane is facing up to the fact that - barring injury or suspension - he will never ride Commander In Chief again. Eddery will stick like glue to Europe's new middle-distance star, with the obvious immediate targets being the BudweiserIrish Derby at the Curragh on June 27 and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot on July 24. Already, Kinane is predicting wins for the colt in both those big races. ''He won't be beaten again this year,'' he said confidently. ''This horse is such a good galloper, and he will go on any type of going, except firm.'' As for his rating, alongside some of the other good horses Kinane has ridden over the years, the jockey said: ''He would have to be the best mile-and-a-half horse I have ridden. ''Before Wednesday, I would have said Theatrical and Carroll House were the best, but this fellow is better than them.''