He had his first
I'll Have Another ran down Bodemeister in the final furlong to win the Kentucky Derby yesterday (NZT), ending up in the winner's circle despite a rookie jockey, a more famous stable pony, and a price tag of just US$11,000 as a yearling. With Mario Gutierrez aboard, the chestnut colt stormed out of post No 19 the first winner from that slot in 138 runnings of the Derby and bided his time back in mid-pack while Bodemeister set a blistering pace on a hot, muggy afternoon. I'll Have Another overhauled a tiring Bodemeister to win by 1 lengths, with Dullahan a neck back in third. Trainer Doug O'Neill did not waste any time vowing that I'll Have Another will go on to the Preakness in two weeks.
O'Briens claim Guineas
The racing behemoth of Ballydoyle claimed another British Classic and a first for jockey Joseph O'Brien as the undefeated Camelot stormed to victory at Newmarket to win the 2000 Guineas yesterday. Camelot, the clear 15-8 favourite for the season's first classic, was held up under a patient ride from his young jockey and made smooth progress through the field to lay down his challenge in the final furlong (200m). Only Gallic raider French Fifteen went with him but Camelot edged ahead of the Olivier Peslier-ridden colt in a frantic finish and secured victory by a neck. In doing so he gained trainer Aidan O'Brien a first British Classic since 2008, overturned a 40-year losing streak for Racing Post Trophy winners in the Guineas, and confirmed himself as the runaway favourite for the Investec Derby next month.
Veteran trainer Leon Corstens was back in the group one winner's circle on Saturday when Zabeelionaire claimed the South Australian Derby aided by a rails-hugging ride from champion jockey Damien Oliver.
Zabeelionaire started the Derby at Morhpettville as the $4 equal favourite with Strike The Stars, runner-up to Mosheen in the Australian Guineas in February. After racing midfield with Essence setting the pace, Zabeelionaire finished off the 2500m on the fence to beat Victoria Derby placegetter Sabrage ($21) by half a length with Westsouthwest ($21) a further 1 lengths third. Strike The Stars finished 3 lengths from the winner in fourth place.
Jackpot for Rotorua
It was tough going at Riccarton on Saturday for punters and the Pick6 was no exception. Too Much Torque (11), Platinum Kingdom (6), The Glitzy One (7), Are You Devious (10), Hill Of Gold (7) and Jaylah (18) paid $250,000, with only 0.1 winning units nabbing a share so the guaranteed pool at Rotorua next Saturday should attract keen interest.
McDonald earns praise
Cambridge jockey James McDonald has notched another milestone, riding his first winner for Gai Waterhouse at Hawkesbury on Saturday. The 20-year-old star hoop rode 5-year-old gelding Reuben Percival to victory in the Provincial Stayers Championship Final (2250m). Based in Sydney in recent weeks, McDonald does the bulk of his riding for Waterhouse's fellow Randwick trainer John O'Shea but made the most of his first opportunity for Waterhouse, who was full of praise for the talented rider. "He's a brilliant jockey," Waterhouse said. "I've said before I think he's the best rider to come out of New Zealand since Shane Dye."
Top-quality staying action on both sides of the Tasman was witnessed last week. At Melbourne's Sandown Park last Thursday, the Karen Walsh-trained Thrilling Brat rocketed home late to push the West Australian freakish stayer Miata to a half-head decision over 715m. Thrilling Brat's wide-running tendencies proved costly, after he raced extremely wide through the final turn. In Wanganui on Friday night, Opawa Eye won an enthralling Wanganui Distance over 755m. The $20,000 group one event saw the Dave and Jean Fahey-trained stayer charge home late to win by a length from Buddy Broke, with noses back to Lotto Profit and the powerful-finishing Swift Fantasy.