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Master trainer Chris Waller celebrated his 21st career Group 1 quinella with stablemates Kukeracha and Senor Toba running a thrilling one-two photo finish in the 2021 Queensland Derby results in Brisbane.
The season’s top Group 1 winning hoop James McDonald had the ride on the underrated Night Of Thunder gelding Kukeracha who continued his rise through the grades this campaign to steal the Group 1 $600,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
Third in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) before a last start second in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 15, Kukeracha relished a step-up to the mile and a half and a Good (4) track to claim the three-years-old staying feature of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
McDonald gave the horse a perfectly-timed ride, narrowly denying his better-fancied stablemate Senor Toba the win.
Senor Toba, third in the Rough Habit, was so brave in defeat from the outside alley after jockey Hugh Bowman got him to slot into a good position midfield and wide alongside the favourite Explosive Jack.
“It was a tough barrier draw for the stable,” Waller told Channel 7 post-win.
“James (McDonald) had the best draw…but for Hugh (Bowman) to slot in and get in where he did (on Senor Toba) was a special ride.”
On the home straight, Senor Toba came charging down the outside to challenge the front runners finishing strongly, but it was Kukeracha late on the scene who forced a photo and came away victorious.
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained ATC Derby – SA Derby champion Explosive Jack was far from disgraced running third to round out the trifecta, while the on-pace Achiever held for fourth.
“To both the horses’ credit, they’ve done a fantastic job,” Waller said.
“We had a great opinion of him (the winner) as a two-year-old. He lost his way a little bit…he was gelded.
“Today was brilliant.
“I’ve got a lot of great moments. I’m very lucky to be in the position I’m in.”
The victory was Waller’s second in a Queensland Derby following his 2013 victory with Hawkspur.
2021 Queensland Derby Results & Finishing Order
|1||3||KUKERACHA (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||2||57kg||$11|
|2||9||SENOR TOBA||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||0.1L||18||57kg||$6|
|3||1||EXPLOSIVE JACK (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||1.1L||5||57kg||$2.50F|
|4||4||ACHIEVER||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||1.6L||10||57kg||$18|
|5||8||HORRIFYING (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Ms Jamie Kah||4.1L||11||57kg||$17|
|6||5||TOSCANINI||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Robbie Fradd||5.85L||7||57kg||$31|
|7||7||BUCHAREST||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||7.6L||16||57kg||$41|
|8||14||FORTIFIED (NZ)||Chris Waller||James Orman||7.8L||14||57kg||$17|
|9||11||SAGACIOUS||Matthew Dunn||Jason Collett||9.05L||1||57kg||$201|
|10||2||LET’S KARAKA DEEL (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||9.25L||3||57kg||$8|
|11||6||CRIMINAL DEFENCE||Peter & Will Hulbert||Jye McNeil||9.45L||4||57kg||$31|
|12||16||HEZASHOCKA (NZ)||Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr)||Glen Boss||10.7L||12||57kg||$41|
|13||13||MR GEE||John O’Shea||Craig Williams||11.7L||6||57kg||$101|
|14||12||MARANOA||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||12.95L||8||57kg||$17|
|15||10||BOLD EXECUTIVE||Garnett Taylor||Ryan Wiggins||13.45L||13||57kg||$201|
|16||18||QUIET MICHAEL (NZ)||Chris Waller||Joshua Parr||14.2L||9||57kg||$41|
|17||17||MT MORT SHARK (NZ)||Matt Kropp||Larry Cassidy||23.2L||15||57kg||$201|
|18||15||CALM SEEKER (NZ)||Matt Kropp||Les Tilley||23.4L||17||57kg||$201|
|21e||STYLEBENDER (NZ)||Bryce Heys||0|
|20e||OLYMPIC CLASS||Michael Costa||0|
|19e||SINO DEFEAT||Paul Butterworth||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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