The Kiwi kings of the Derby have done it again in million-dollar fashion in Sydney on Saturday.
Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman combined with New Zealand's superstar jockey Opie Bosson to win the A$1 million ATC Derby at a soaked Randwick with Quick Thinker.
The three-year-old outstayed his Australian rivals after sweeping to the lead at the 200m mark to give Baker his fifth training success in the Derby, his second in partnership with Forsman.
Just like when they won the race three years ago with Jon Snow, they backed Quick Thinker up after winning in Sydney just seven days earlier, an unorthodox Derby approach but just another reason the Cambridge stable is one of the most feared in Australia when it comes to the ultimate three-year-old staying tests.
While Quick Thinker was undoubtedly aided by the heavy track he still had to be brave to beat the glamour Aussies with their bigger reputations and price tags. He is owned by Australian syndicators OTI Thoroughbreds, whose principal Terry Henderson is a huge fan of the Baker/Forsman stable.
"We sent them this horse because they won a Derby for us in New Zealand with Vin De Dance, they are just outstanding trainers," said Henderson.
The win was fitting reward for Bosson who made a lightning trip from his farm south of Pukekohe three weeks ago to get to Sydney just before trans-tasman travel restrictions came in, meaning he could ride at the entire carnival, but also had to be away from his young family for a month.
Bosson's winning streak couldn't continue in the A$1.5 million Doncaster though as Melody Belle had to settled for an outstanding fourth after being trapped three wide with the 57kgs topweight.
Earlier in the day Nature Strip won the T J Smith for Kiwis Chris Waller (trainer) and James McDonald (jockey), with the speed machine galloper part owned by former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.
The once speed-crazed sprinter has been taught to settle by Waller and McDonald this season and the way he dealt to such a high-class field makes it such a shame he can't go to Royal Ascot this season.
That June meeting in England looks increasingly likely to be called off like so much of the races around the world, and it would all but impossible to get Nature Strip there even if it was held.
While Cambridge trainer Tony Pike had little reason to smile after Sherwood Forest copped the worst possible trip in the Derby, he saw plenty to like when his two-year-old Not An Option stormed home in the opening two-year-old race on Saturday.
He settled last in the hands of Bosson and made good ground, so could contest the Champagne Stakes in Sydney in two weeks as long as racing there can continue.