The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Chris Waller-trained Kovalica was far too good in the Ladbrokes Queensland Derby 2023 results on Saturday with the odds-on elect posting a bullish win in the mile-and-a-half classic at Eagle Farm.
The Queensland Guineas winning Ocean Park gelding had a small hiccup a fortnight ago missing the Rough Habit Plate but atoned when given his final lead-up to cross a brave third behind the older horses in last Saturday’s Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m).
Back against his own kind and up in distance for the Group 1 $1 million Ladbrokes Queensland Derby (2400m) on the quick back-up Kovalica was in a class of his own.
Jumping the odds-on elect the gun youngster was into a lovely position soon after the jump with jockey James McDonald giving the favourite an absolutely faultless ride.
McDonald knew he was on the fit and form horse in the Derby, peeling out three-wide early to keep out of trouble.
Having done so little work after getting all the favours in the run Kovalica swept up at the 400m and took control a long way out from the line.
Charging into the clear the horse led the entire straight easily accounting for his fellow three-year-olds with a two-length domination.
“Obviously he’s had the perfect preparation in terms of getting the distance,” an always-confident Waller told Sky Thoroughbred Central post-win.
“Once he hit the front I thought ‘he’s fit enough, he’ll be right’.
“Faultless ride, obviously barrier draws make things so much easier.
“James cleverly got out in a three wide line. He got out to make his own luck.”
In a brave but distant second was the improving Peter Moody-trained Fame coming off back-to-back wins in easier grade.
Completing the strung-out Queensland Derby trifecta in third was the John O’Shea-trained Stroke Of Luck who also ran third in the Rough Habit.
It was a mixed Queensland Derby result for Waller who ran both first and last with something going amiss with his Rough Habit Plate winner Special Swey who barley made it over the finishing line.
Waller is now a three-time Queensland Derby winning trainer having earlier won the event with Hawkspur (2013) and the McDonald-ridden Kukeracha in 2021.
2023 Queensland Derby Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||KOVALICA (NZ)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||4||57kg||$1.70F|
|2||14||FAME||Peter G Moody||Jason Collett||1.95L||10||57kg||$10|
|3||9||STROKE OF LUCK||John O’Shea||Ben Melham||4.02L||3||57kg||$31|
|4||4||PROMISES KEPT||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Mark Zahra||6.89L||1||57kg||$7.50|
|5||5||ANDALUS (NZ)||John O’Shea||Blake Shinn||6.98L||17||57kg||$21|
|6||12||CUT ON A DIME||Bryce Heys||Damien Thornton||7.24L||2||57kg||$81|
|7||3||ABERFELDIE BOY||Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock||Craig Newitt||7.31L||7||57kg||$18|
|8||15||XTRAREVZ||John Sargent||Joshua Parr||7.82L||5||57kg||$61|
|9||11||ARBY (NZ)||Darryn & Briar Weatherley||Sam Weatherley||11.07L||14||57kg||$101|
|10||6||TAPILDOODLEDO (NZ)||Kerry Taplin||Ben Thompson||12.4L||6||57kg||$101|
|11||10||SMARTAWI||Gregory Hickman||Tyler Schiller (a)||12.78L||16||57kg||$81|
|12||2||THE VOWELS||Toby & Trent Edmonds||James Orman||12.89L||12||57kg||$17|
|13||13||THE ENGLISHMAN (NZ)||Peter & Paul Snowden||Chad Schofield||13.16L||11||57kg||$101|
|14||7||WAITAK (NZ)||Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott||Jake Bayliss||13.95L||13||57kg||$101|
|15||17||AMALGAMATION||Marcus Wilson||Ms Samantha Collett||14.04L||18||57kg||$201|
|16||19e||SUBARCTIC||Matthew Smith||Larry Cassidy||15.61L||8||57kg||$201|
|17||16||SACRED MISSION (NZ)||David Vandyke||Craig Williams||32.54L||9||57kg||$61|
|18||8||SPECIAL SWEY (NZ)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||127.04L||15||57kg||$13|
|20e||ARTFUL GIRL||Kevin Kemp||Marnu Potgieter (a)||0|
|18||TRUE BLUE||Matthew Smith||Opie Bosson||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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