2016 WATC Derby Target for Kia Ora Koutou

After a sale to Hong Kong interests was called off by current connections, Adam Durrant’s Perth galloper Kia Ora Koutou will enjoy spell before coming back to target next April’s WATC Derby 2015.


Perth raider Kia Ora Koutou ran a brave third behind Tarzino (pictured) in Melbourne’s 2015 Victoria Derby this spring. Photo: Steve Hart.

The Blackfriars gelding kicked off his career at home in the best possible form winning his opening four career starts including over 2200m at Belmont in early October.

That form convinced his connections and Lark Hill-based Durrant to take the three-year-old to Melbourne for a shot at the lucrative $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 31.

It proved a strong decision with the visitor far from disgraced in the Melbourne Cup Carnival classic running third behind runaway winner Tarzino.

A deal was in motion with a buyer from Hong Kong looking to purchase the valuable gelding, however Durrant confirmed this week his current owners have opted not to sell the horse.

Kia Ora Koutou suffered a minor injury during an incident in the paddock in Victoria post-Derby, however his trainer said that didn’t impact the team’s decision to keep the progressive stayer.

“It would take three weeks for him to go through the stringent vet tests to go to Hong Kong,” Durrant explained to The West Australian.

“He is the quietest horse but something has spooked him and he has clipped the fence. He has had a couple of stitches to the knee.

“It is going to be three weeks until he is back home, but he is fine.”

After making the call to retain the current $319,150 earner, Durrant said the plan was to bring the Derby placegetter back during the autumn to target the $400,000 Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) in April.

“We’ve all had a think about it and decided we want to keep the horse. He will come home and be set for the WATC Derby next year,” he said.

This year’s WATC Derby was won by flying filly Delicacy who saluted over the mile and a half during a six-straight winning streak that extended to two Group 1 Adelaide wins in May’s Australasian Oaks and SA Derby.

The now four-year-old daughter of Al Maher, prepared by Grant Williams, is nominated for two majors during the Perth Summer Racing Carnival.

She returned with a first-up third behind Black Heart Bart at Ascot last weekend in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) with Perth’s best William Pike in the saddle.

Now Delicacy targets more Group 1 success in the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) over the mile on November 21 and the $1 million Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 5.

Futures Railway Stakes odds for Saturday week’s classic at Ladbrokes.com.au has the in-form Vaughn Sigley-trained Lee Steere winner Black Heart Bart as the $4.60 favourite.

Delicacy follows on $5.50 ahead of a stablemate of Kia Ora Koutou Real Love ($6) who won the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) on New Year’s Day as well as the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes (1400m) last time out on October 31.

Over the extra metres in the all-in Kingston Town Classic odds Delicacy ($4.80) shapes up as the one to beat according to the bookies with Black Heart Bart and Real Love the $6 second elects.

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