A decision to throw Fiveandahalfstar into the deep end in the Victoria Derby 2012 at Flemington proved a winning one for trainer Anthony Cummings who broke a 21-year Derby Day drought with a win in the big one this afternoon.
Progressive Hotel Grand gelding Fiveandahalfstar entered calculations for the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) when they scored an impressive three length victory over 1800m at Rosehill last Saturday.
Cummings however wasn’t 100 percent convinced at that stage, still considering bypassing the Derby in favour of a Listed race over 1800m at Crown Oaks Day next Thursday.
“I was sort of looking at It’s A Dundeel being in the race and after I seen him getting beaten last Saturday that opened the door,” Cummings said.
Jockey Damien Oliver however convinced the trainer to give the three-year-old his chance in the Group 1 after riding Fiveandahalfstar in a track gallop during the week.
Oliver’s judgment was spot on as the youngster produced a sensational staying effort to score an eye-catching Victoria Derby victory.
“He’s a nice horse and obviously an above average stayer,” Cummings said after the win.
“He’s got a bold running style.
“At the end of the day I think that’s his 7th or 8th race.
“He’s got a hell of a constitution.
“I didn’t have time to work him into shape but it turned out pretty good.”
Fiveandahalfstar was also Oliver’s fourth Victoria Derby winner from 20 rides in the three-year-olds’ classic joining Elvstoem (2003), Amalfi (2001) and Redding (1992).
“Fantastic, I was glad I was able to talk Anthony into it,” Oliver said post-Derby.
“He (Fiveandahalfstar) couldn’t have been any fitter today.
“He just stayed really well, he just outstayed them.”
It was a smart pace set by Jimando, who eventually finished dead last in the Derby 2012, and Oliver wouldn’t let his mount over-race positioning Fiveandahalfstar on the rails in third letting them stride along chasing the leader.
Others to settle in nicely were Super Cool and Subiaso sitting around fourth and fifth throughout while the hot favourite It’s A Dundeel gave themselves too much work to do settling fourth last.
While Jimando started to fade after his solid front-running, Fiveandahalfstar came for them around the turn and dashed to the lead with 400m left to run.
In a brilliant performance Fiveandahalfstar ($41) kept responding and accelerating and scored a devastating win over last start Moonee Valley Vase winner Super Cool ($6) while David Hayes‘ $101 roughie Rawnaq finished off the winning Victoria Derby trifecta in third.
Race favourite It’s A Dundeel meanwhile encountered all sorts of trouble throughout the race and while they probably finished off better than any other horse to run seventh, the race was over by that time.
It was a particularly special victory for Oliver today too as this year is the 10th anniversary of his brother Jason Oliver’s death during a training accident.
“This couldn’t have started the week any better,” he said.
“It’s my brother’s 10th year anniversary since we lost him and it’s great to ride a winner on his anniversary.”
Oliver’s attention will now turn to the 2012 Melbourne Cup next Tuesday where he will look for his third win in the ‘race that stops a nation’, this time riding the favourite, 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain.
“I’d love to win another one got a great chance in Americain,” he said.
After the Victoria Derby Day action the spring carnival excitement continues this afternoon with the release of the official 2012 Melbourne Cup final field and barrier draw so make sure you stay tuned to Races.com.com.au
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2012 Victoria Derby Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 6 – 03/11/2012
|1||6||FIVEANDAHALFSTAR||Anthony Cummings||Damien Oliver||–||5||55.5kg||$41|
|2||4||SUPER COOL||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||1.5L||11||55.5kg||$6|
|3||15||RAWNAQ||David Hayes||Michael Walker||2.25L||4||55.5kg||$101|
|4||5||HVASSTAN||Peter Gelagotis||Glen Boss||3L||9||55.5kg||$8|
|5||8||ELECTRIC FUSION||Robert Smerdon||Nicholas Hall||4L||7||55.5kg||$14|
|6||7||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||4.5L||12||55.5kg||$51|
|7||1||IT’S A DUNDEEL (NZ)||Murray Baker||James McDonald||4.7L||10||55.5kg||$2.70F|
|8||3||HONORIUS||David Payne||Corey Brown||7.45L||2||55.5kg||$10|
|9||9||SUBIASO||Robbie Laing||Steven Arnold||7.95L||8||55.5kg||$15|
|10||13||OUR DESERT WARRIOR||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||8.05L||13||55.5kg||$18|
|11||11||MALABAR MAN||Michael Kent||Craig Williams||10.8L||15||55.5kg||$21|
|12||14||NISOS||Paul Rocke||Billy Egan||12.3L||3||55.5kg||$101|
|13||12||COSTA NOVA||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Hugh Bowman||12.5L||14||55.5kg||$71|
|14||10||BULLION EXPRESS||Dean Binaisse||Vlad Duric||16.75L||16||55.5kg||$301|
|15||16||BATISTUTA||Austy Coffey||Dean Yendall||21.75L||1||55.5kg||$201|
|16||2||JIMANDO||Tony McEvoy||Matthew Neilson||33.75L||6||55.5kg||$41|