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Derby making up lost ground

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

The G1 Victoria Derby hasn’t enjoyed a reputation as a stallion-making race, but there are indications, particularly in New Zealand, that its status is on the rise.

The growing obsession with speed saw the Flemington Classic drop some lengths behind age group events such as the G1 Coolmore Stud S., the G1 Caulfield Guineas and the G1 Australian Guineas.

The odds are against the colts, with geldings significantly outweighing the numbers, but five winners of the Derby in the last 10 years have gone on to stand at stud.

Strong support

The most recent winners are the 2015 hero Tarzino (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) and the year before it was the turn of Preferment (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) and both have been receiving outstanding support.

The latter is standing his second season at Brighthill Farm and has been well-received.

“Preferment has been very popular and he served 116 mares in his first season, and that was after coming out of work a bit late and this year he’ll breed 130,” Nick King said.

Preferment winning the G1 Victoria Derby

“It shows what these 3-year-old colts can do, and there’s not many run compared to the geldings, and that they have to be real athletes to get up in the spring to run that distance.

“A lot of great stallions have been Derby winners and there’s a definite skill set required.” – Nick King.

“A lot of great stallions have been Derby winners and there’s a definite skill set required.

“The VRC Derby is a quality race and gaining more and more momentum. The proof is in the eating with a horse like Preferment – he won it and went on to become a champion 4-year-old.”

Tarzino stands at Gerry Harvey’s Westbury Stud at Karaka where he has been welcomed by breeders with open arms.

Tarzino, standing at Westbury Stud

“He’s been very popular and he served 124 in his first season and he’ll cover the same if not more this season.” - Russell Warwick.

“He’s been very popular and he served 124 in his first season and he’ll cover the same if not more this season,” General Manager Russell Warwick said.

“Tarzino was a very good horse and he just got beaten in the Australian Guineas and went on to win the Rosehill Guineas.

“It seems trainers these days are more comfortable running their best staying 3-year-olds in the VRC Derby.”

Polanski at the Crossing

The 2013 victor Polanski (Rakti {GB}) is standing at Ducks Crossing with his oldest crop being 3-year-olds.

“He had 40 mares in his first season, then 20 and it has dropped off, but that’s what happens until a few more start to race, especially with staying horses as it’s so speed-driven here,” farm manager Simon Lee said.

Polanski, standing at Ducks Crossing

An imposing horse, Polanski won four of his 10 starts and sadly, broke down and was retired in his resuming run after winning the Derby.

“We’ve got some very nice stock by him and he’s a very good type himself.” – Simon Lee.

“We’ve got some very nice stock by him and he’s a very good type himself,” Lee said.

“There’s a few been to the trials and gone well and one won a jump-out the other day by 10 lengths and there’s been some big money offered, so we’ll just see when they get to the races and over the right distances.”

From limited opportunities – he’s only had 89 runners - the 2008 winner Rebel Raider (Reset) has produced 39 winners from his Wyndholm Park Stud base. They include the G3 Hobart Cup winner Pretty Punk, the G3 Chairman’s S., winner Waging War and the G1 Queensland Derby runner-up Rockstar Rebel.

Solid performance at stud

A year later, Monaco Consul (NZ) (High Chaparral {IRE}) claimed the 2009 Derby and he too has done a good job with the chances he’s had at stud with 40 winners from 81 runners. They include the G2 Wakeful S., winner Tiamo Grace and the G1 VRC Oaks runner-up Honesta.

Monaco Consul also placed in the G1 Australian Derby and the G1 Queen Elizabeth S., and as a 4-year-old he placed in the G1 Caulfield Cup while Rebel Raider went on to win the G1 South Australian Derby.

Monaco Consul

“They probably went to stud in the wrong country,” King said. “The only country in the Southern Hemisphere to have these staying horses is New Zealand.

“The owners of these horses (Preferment and Tarzino) know that – they have to come here to get the opportunities. We’ve got the gold and we just have to shape it.”