Shootoff Salutes to Give Rogerson QLD Oaks – Derby Double


Shootoff has narrowly won the Queensland Derby from Shez Sinsational

New Zealand-born trainer Graeme Rogerson has scored the prestigious Queensland Oaks – Queensland Derby double thanks to a brave final stride win by favourite Shootoff at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Just seven days previously at the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Rogerson watched his wonder filly Scarlett Lady take out the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).

The win by Duelled gelding Shootoff in the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day was not quite as easy, but it was another elite level all the same.

Having run a gallant fourth to Scenic Shot in the weight-for-age Group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) three weeks before, Shootoff started the clear favourite for the Queensland Derby this year.

After jumping from the barriers, former Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michael Rodd settled Shootoff just off the speed allowing the likes of Almas’ Fury, Shadows In The Sun and Yulalona set the frantic pace.

There was definitely no shortage of speed in the Queensland Derby for 2011, none of the three-year-olds or their hopeful hoops holding anything back.

While the Peter Snowden-trained Yulalona got to the front by the top corner, threatening to hand Darley successive Group 1 wins on the day following Benfica’s win in the TJ Smith, Shootoff was ridden patiently before starting to make their move.

With a big run on the outside, Shootoff began to come quickly with 300 metres left to travel, the two fillies in the Queensland Derby giving the favourite quite a fright.

Having some trouble towards the end, Shootoff’s brilliance shone through and got him the money.

In a thrilling finish, Shootoff was being matched nearly stride for stride by Allan Sharrock’s Kiwi filly Shez Sinsational and the John Sadler-trained Heidilicious.

On the line the colt beat the fillies, however, Shootoff proving just that little bit too good for his fast-finishing challengers.

Shez Sinsational was awarded second in the photo result for the placings, while Heidilicious snared third in a brilliant effort after she was a little slow away from the barriers and kept to sleep worse than mid-field throughout.

Sadler was happy with Heidlicious’s efforts, knowing there would be plenty of time in the upcoming seasons to get her at her best.

“At the end of the day she’s a three-year-old Zabeel filly and we’ve got the rest of her life,” he said.

Most impressed with Shootoff’s efforts in stepping up to 2400m for the first time this prep was jockey Michael Rodd.

“He gave me a lovely ride until about the 1000 metres when he showed to be a bit timid,” Rodd said.

“I just wanted to nurse him and make him get the 2400 metres.

“He’s got a good little turn of foot and he fights on really hard.

“If they’d got to him (the fillies) I don’t know if they would have got past him cause he’s a real fighter.”

The 2011 Queensland Derby success have Rodd back-to-back wins in the classic after his win aboard Dariana last year.