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Danny O’Brien’s untapped young stayer Russian Camelot has stamped himself as a genuine star in the making winning the Group 1 $400,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) from a seemingly unwinnable position at just his fifth career start.
The Northern Hemisphere-bred Camelot colt was the big market mover on race day with the punters backing him into $2.90 favouritism in 2020 South Australian Derby betting by jump time despite a few hiccups to the horse’s autumn campaign.
A last start winner by seven lengths carrying 61.5kg over the mile at Pakenham on April 9, Russian Camelot proved that was no fluke rising up notably in both distance and grade to win the SA Derby.
The punters’ pick was only fair out of the barriers and was caught three-deep without cover throughout, not really settling at the tail end of the field for jockey John Allen as Rising Archie led the field around.
Allen, who had previously ridden two South Australian Derby winners for Darren Weir aboard Howard Be Thy Name (2016) and Volatile Mix (2017), however didn’t panic.
The hoop stayed out three wide and eventually got a nice trail in on Saint Eustace coming into the home turn with the filly Moonlight Maid leading after making her move to hit the front at the 400m.
The flying Leon MacDonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained Chairman’s winner last start, Dalasan meanwhile was ridden one off the fence throughout and looked to be cruising as they cornered.
Moonlight Maid kicked away at the 200m, but Russian Camelot was coming with a big bounding run in the final furlong.
Dalasan found the fence late and was ridden beautifully by Jason Holder, but was simply overpowered by Russian Camelot who just kept improving all the way to the line for a phenomenal win.
“Danny said to ride him like he was the best horse in the race and he was confident if he was close enough on the corner, he would the better turn of foot,” Allen said post-win.
“It panned out that way. He was just the superior horse.”
The best three in betting filled the South Australian Derby trifecta, with Anthony Freedman’s Victoria Derby champ from the spring Warning running third.
“He’s been a very exciting horse, not just for us but for the public, since his very first start,” winning trainer O’Brien told Racing.com speaking of Russian Camelot.
“We’ve had to do something that hasn’t been done before, take him to a Derby against the Australian three-year-olds.
“We were always confident the motor was there, particularly once he got over a bit of ground, and it was an enjoyable watch today.
“It’s weird in Australia but his father Camelot won the English Derby second-up.
“We bought the horse from England and bought the training manual with him.”
Click here for the full futures odds on the Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
2020 South Australian Derby Results
|1||4||RUSSIAN CAMELOT (IRE)||Danny O’Brien||John Allen||–||7||56.5kg||$2.90F|
|2||1||DALASAN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Jason Holder||1.8L||9||56.5kg||$3.80|
|3||2||WARNING||Anthony Freedman||Damien Thornton||2.8L||3||56.5kg||$4.40|
|4||14||ZAYYDANI (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dom Tourneur||3.8L||2||54.5kg||$13|
|5||12||MOONLIGHT MAID||Mitchell Freedman||Jake Toeroek||6.7L||10||54.5kg||$10|
|6||3||THEMOONLITEGAMBLER||John McArdle||Dean Holland||11.9L||1||56.5kg||$19|
|7||6||SAINT EUSTACE (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Zac Spain||12L||6||56.5kg||$26|
|8||8||ROCK STEADY (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Dylan Caboche (a)||14.7L||12||56.5kg||$151|
|9||10||EXALTED AMBITION||Grant Young||Ryan Hurdle||18.9L||8||56.5kg||$201|
|10||9||ST ARNICCA||Paul Preusker||Caitlin Jones (a)||23.4L||5||56.5kg||$151|
|11||11||SOWPODS||Gordon Richards||Shayne Cahill||27.5L||4||56.5kg||$201|
|12||7||RISING ARCHIE||Paul Preusker||Ethan Brown||46.2L||11||56.5kg||$51|
|–||5||MIYAKE||Chris Waller||Todd Pannell||–||0||–||–|
|–||13||SILENT SOVEREIGN||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Barend Vorster||–||0||–||–|
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