It's impossible to overstate the Zabeel influence in the Rangipo-What's The Story-Raghu $750,000 BMW Derby trifecta.

Stablemates Rangipo and Raghu are bred from Zabeel mares and What's The Story is by Zabeel's son Savabeel.

Derbies are about stamina attrition and when the going got tough inside the 100m late on Saturday, Zabeel's class and staying influence stood up to be counted.

Proudly watching in the grandstand was the creator of the Zabeel magic Sir Patrick Hogan and not far to his right was Cambridge trainer Tony Pike, who thought he had produced the Rangipo-Raghu Derby quinella until with one stride to go What's The Story ruined the story by poking his nose between the pair with a remarkable late finishing burst to take the $150,000 runner up's cheque.


Pre-race you had to rate this Derby the most even field we've seen in certainly a decade and so it proved - fifth-placed Valley Girl was barely half a length off Rangipo, just being nosed out of fourth by the other strong female chance Capella. Tenth-placed Brighton was only 3.8 lengths away.

This was a triumph for Rangipo's toughness and durability to come through a succession of bruising lead-up encounters to peak yet again when it mattered and the same could be said for Raghu.

Pike remains in awe of both horses. "It's quite amazing that the pair of them could come through such tough racing and keep fronting up."

And he indirectly touched on the Zabeel factor. "Neither of these horses will ever run 2400m again in their careers, but they've got away with it as 3-year-olds, that's how tough they are."

Pike rates both horses ideal 1600m-2000m types as 4-year-olds.

"They're both able to put themselves up on the speed and fight like hell. They will be nice types next preparation." When that will be has yet to be decided. "I obviously haven't had a chance to sit down and talk to the two lots of owners, but this pair have been up for a hell of a long time and they have to have a spell of some description."

I was hoping Get That Jive would take Raghu into the race in the home straight ...


Pike says he feels sorry for Raghu.

"It would have been justice if he'd won because he deserves a big one. He's been narrowly beaten off tough runs in the Waikato and Avondale Guineas and got left in front too soon yesterday."

When leader Son Of Maher started to drop away approaching the home turn Opie Bosson on the trailer Get That Jive had little option but to take the rails gap and take over.

"I was hoping Get That Jive would take Raghu into the race in the home straight, but he was gone quickly and Raghu was left in front way too soon. He was very brave."

This will also be remembered as a rough Derby by some. Half the field was disorganised in a chain reaction leaving the home straight 420m after the start resulting in Michael Coleman being suspended for 10 riding days.

Part of the extensive stewards' report on the race: "Rider M Coleman defended a charge of careless riding in that he permitted his mount The Hassler to shift inwards when not sufficiently clear of What's The Story which was crowded inwards on to Splendido (G Cooksley) which was severely checked near the 1800 metres. Several runners were badly hampered as a result being Gobstopper (C Grylls), Valley Girl (D Johnson), Brighton (L Tiley), En Suite (R Myers), Thunder Down Under (J Parkes), Tavago (N Callow) and Humidor (M Du Plessis)." After hearing submissions, the Judicial Committee found the charge proven and suspended Coleman's licence to ride in races from the conclusion of racing on Saturday 12 March, up to and including racing on Thursday 31 March, 10 riding days.

Capella shifted outwards under pressure hampering The Hassler passing the 100 metres. L Innes was issued with a warning.

So without that early incident the result may have been different, but that's horse racing. Put three-quarters of a million dollars on the line and riders are going to take chances.

Vinnie Colgan produced a remarkable sixth winning ride in the race, proving yet again what a valuable staying rider he is. Rangipo joined Roysyn, Zonda, Hades, Redoute's Dancer and Habibi as horses that have carried Colgan to Derby success.