The headline event on the opening Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting at Flemington on Saturday was the 2011 Victoria Derby, the 157th running of Australia’s oldest classic a rough and tumble affair with Trent Bususttin’s Kiwi raider Sangster going back-to-back for New Zealand following Lion Tamer’s win 12 months ago.
It was also successive wins in the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) for leading jockey Hugh Bowman, the first hoop to go back-to-back in the VRC Derby since Roy Higgins with Dayana (1972 and Taj Rossi (1973).
Coming off an eye-catching second to today’s Victoria Derby third placegetter Sabrage in the Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield, Savabeel gelding Sangster showed their true staying potential with an excellent effort to hang on for a gritty victory.
Manawanui was the Victoria Derby favourite paying $2.50 at jump time through Luxbet, but there were queries over the Golden Rose winner’s ability to get the distance today and those queries proved valid as they could only manage to finish sixth, beaten three lengths.
When the barriers went up third elect, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Niagara, shot across from the outside gate to lead the field.
In a messily run race at the back, second favourite and last-start Geelong Classic winner Induna suffered nasty interference on multiple occasions, the first of which came from Perfect Punch who nearly pushed the eventual runner-up off the track going around the first corner.
While Niagara held onto their lead, Sabrage settled into second with Perfect Punch moving into third from Cornell.
Finding it hard to steady up, Induna remained towards the back end of the field.
With 1200 metres to go Perfect Punch moved up to second but they, like the leader, would soon be caught.
At the 700 metre mark Induna was racing deep out with some cover, Manwanaui moving up to creep into fourth before going back along the rails.
Meanwhile, Sangster and Hughie were making their move out wide.
Sangster put in their all on the straight, Induna producing an eye-catching run from the 200 metre mark charging towards the leader.
In another close finish, Sangster held on to become the Victoria Derby winner by a head, Induna in a very brave second with the Michael Moroney-trained Sabrage finising off the trifecta one and a half lengths away third.
It was a beautiful winning ride by Bowman who was happy to sit out wide, three deep and to Sangster’s credit the horse was able to snare a Derby.
“I kept a bit in the tank,” Bowman said after the race.
“I was very concerned in the last 50 (metres).
“(But) I knew the distance would suit this guy…he’s done a wonderful job.
“This is the cream of the crop when it comes to racing in Australia and I feel honoured to have won it twice now.”
Today’s winning Victoria Derby trainer Busuttin was over the moon with his horse’s effort today, the galloper now with three wins from eight starts.
“It’s just fantastic, you can’t describe it,” he said.
“We were three deep the whole way and I thought we were no hope at the 600.
“I didn’t want to yell till the hundred, and that’s when Induna came.”
Punters gearing up for the next big spring feature – the 2011 Melbourne Cup – should head to Luxbet today and get ready for the world’s richest handicap by signing up with this Tabcorp-owned and trusted online bookmaker.
2011 Victoria Derby Results & Finishing Order
|1st||5||SANGSTER(7)||Hugh Bowman||Trent Busuttin||55.5||2-40.33|
|2nd||7||INDUNA(10)||Kerrin McEvoy||Peter Snowden||55.5||0.2L|
|3rd||4||SABRAGE(14)||Damien Oliver||Michael Moroney||55.5||1.5L|
|4th||13||ZABEELIONAIRE(4)||Stephen Baster||Leon Corstens||55.5||1.8L|
|5th||2||ISOPACH(15)||Joao Moreira||John P Thompson||55.5||1.9L|
|6th||1||MANAWANUI(6)||Glyn Schofield||Ron Leemon||55.5||3.1L|
|7th||14||I FEEL GOOD(9)||Brenton Avdulla||Frankie Stockdale||55.5||9.6L|
|8th||9||SCELTO(8)||Dwayne Dunn||Robbie Laing||55.5||9.7L|
|9th||8||COSTLY COMMITMENT(5)||Craig Newitt||Mick Price||55.5||11.0L|
|10th||12||EAGLE COMMAND(13)||Dean Yendall||Gary Portelli||55.5||11.2L|
|11th||16||MR CHEZ(1)||Michael Rodd||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||55.5||13.9L|
|12th||11||CORNELL(2)||Craig Williams||Anthony Freedman||55.5||14.9L|
|13th||10||NIAGARA(16)||Nash Rawiller||Gai Waterhouse||55.5||17.4L|
|14th||15||RAPIDUS(12)||Steven Arnold||Bart Cummings||55.5||21.4L|
|15th||6||PERFECT PUNCH(11)||Clare Lindop||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||55.5||22.4L|
|16th||3||COLLAR(3)||Nicholas Hall||Robert Hickmott||55.5||23.7L|
|Src||17||MUSTANG||Corey Brown||David R Miller|
|Src||18||MONSILI||Luke Currie||Shane A Edwards|