The 2016 Victoria Derby dream is still alive for the Phillip Stokes-trained colt Captain Duffy after his upset win in the Geelong Classic on Wednesday.
The King Cugat three-year-old lined-up in this season’s $120,000 Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on Geelong Cup Day as a $31 roughie in betting after an unplaced run at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day.
That October 2 effort saw him finish 6.5 lengths away 11th to the winner Wine Bush in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) where he raced on pace and had a tough run facing the stiff breeze.
Noel Callow picked up the ride on the galloper in the Geelong Classic field and said the plan was always to go forward.
“I spoke to Phillip [Stokes] this morning and the plan was to go forward,” Callow confirmed post-win.
“I’ve never been on his back before, but he can stay.”
It was a perfectly timed run and one that saw Callow take Captain Duffy forward and outstay his rivals to win by a length over Hollywood Mo with the filly Pretty Punk finishing off the Geelong Classic trifecta in third.
The well-supported Robert Smerdon-trained favourite Theanswermyfriend led the field early after shooting to the front by the 1800m in the staying showdown.
Captain Duffy meanwhile settled nicely sixth on the fence.
Theanswermyfriend set the pace from Back To The Bowler who crossed from the wide alley to settle second on the fence, while Callow made an early move pressing forward to bring Captain Duffy up into a prominent third.
“I made my move early,” Callow said.
“I put myself in the race.”
One of the other top fancies, the Chris Waller-trained Tumultuous backing up off the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) third to Yankee Rose, meanwhile was travelling last with all the ground to make-up.
Captain Duffy kept his spot just off the leaders, out deep but working his way right into it as they approached the turn.
Once on the straight the eventual Geelong Classic winner went straight to the lead on the outside of Theanswermyfriend who looked to be tiring quickly.
Big race specialist Hugh Bowman began his move on Tumultuous at this stage coming with a weaving run through the field.
Captain Duffy was the one to run down and the backmarkers were finishing off well with Paul Perry’s maiden colt Hollywood Mo and the Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained daughter of Rebel Raider Pretty Punk flying home.
They couldn’t catch the leader however and Captain Duffy ($31) held for the nice win over Hollywood Mo ($21) in a juicy Geelong Classic quinella.
In a photo for the final placing, last start Listed Hill Smith (1800m) winner in Adelaide Pretty Punk scored third just holding out Tumultuous.
“He gave a good kick in the straight,” Callow said of Captain Duffy.
“He’ll stay all day.”
That staying power could put the horse in the mix for a run Saturday week, October 29, at Flemington Racecourse in the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We knew that he’d stay,” a representative for Ultra Racing said of Captain Duffy on Wednesday.
“He was looking for this type of trip.
“We couldn’t be happier.
“He’s a lovely big horse. He’s just always needed that galloper room.
“He’s done the job today.
“It think that [the Victoria Derby] is where we’ll head.
“We’ll just see how he pulls up. There’s a couple of options for him.”
The last Victoria Derby winner to back-up off a Geelong Classic win was Preferment (2nd in 2014) two years ago.
To check out the updated 2016 Victoria Derby odds on Geelong Classic winner Captain Duffy head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
2016 Geelong Classic Results & Finishing Order
Geelong Race 6 – 19/10/2016
|1||6||CAPTAIN DUFFY||Phillip Stokes||Noel Callow||–||16||56kg||$21|
|2||12||HOLLYWOOD MO||Paul Perry||Stephen Baster||1.25L||8||56kg||$19|
|3||2||PRETTY PUNK||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Nicholas Hall||1.35L||6||56kg||$4.40|
|4||5||TUMULTUOUS||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1.45L||12||56kg||$6.50|
|5||7||ALL OUT OF LOVE||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||5.2L||9||56kg||$26|
|6||9||ZOFFMAN||Aaron Purcell||Dean Yendall||5.95L||7||56kg||$31|
|7||16||PABLO’S EXPRESS||Greg Eurell||Craig Newitt||6.95L||1||56kg||$41|
|8||10||DORNIER||John Moloney||Jordan Childs (a)||8.45L||2||56kg||$101|
|9||4||NEMRUD||John O’Shea||James McDonald||8.65L||4||56kg||$5|
|10||17e||JAMIESON||Robbie Laing||Ms Michelle Payne||8.85L||10||56kg||$151|
|11||1||THEANSWERMYFRIEND||Robert Smerdon||Dwayne Dunn||9.25L||3||57kg||$3.20F|
|12||3||BACK TO THE BOWLER||Stuart Webb||Luke Nolen||12.5L||15||56kg||$17|
|13||14||EVELYN||Robbie Laing||Dean Holland||17.5L||5||56kg||$41|
|14||11||MR ALOOF||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||18.25L||13||56kg||$201|
|15||18e||KALALO||Matthew Brown||Jake Noonan||19.5L||11||56kg||$301|
|16||13||STATELY BOY||Shea Eden||Jason Benbow||19.6L||14||56kg||$151|
|–||20e||CRYPTO PEER ROCKS||Robbie Laing||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||19e||SHINE TAK STAR||John Sargent||Kerrin McEvoy||–||0||–||–|
|–||15||ANAHEIM||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Ben Melham||–||0||–||–|
|–||8||RESORT||John O’Shea||Michael Dee (a)||–||0||–||–|