Saturday’s epic SA Derby Day truly had something for everyone.
Early drama? Tick.
Gun jockey Barend Vorster was dumped from Hearty Lass when the barriers opened for race 1. Fortunately Vorster was okay and able to fulfil his engagements for the rest of the day. Georgina Cartwright showed great poise under pressure to steer favourite Dixon Street to victory, despite interference from the riderless horse.
Surprise results? Tick.
McEvoy runner Ringbolt got the ball rolling in the Group 3 Sires’ Produce Stakes – one of three events run on the Morphettville Parks course. Bajan followed up in the Provincial Super Series Final, while Miss Mandito saluted in race 7 at juicy odds for trainer Gordon Richards and jockey Zac Spain.
Multiple winners? Tick.
Tony and Calvin McEvoy won the first two races, then landed a treble with the impressive Game Keeper in the Adelaide Guineas (1600m). It was Game Keeper’s third straight win and the son of Fastnet Rock looks to have a bright future. Victorian jockey John Allen also picked up a treble, winning all three black-type races on the card.
A standout race and performance to match? Tick and tick.
The Group 1 SA Derby was one of the strongest in recent memory, containing plenty of pre-race stories.
- A VRC Derby winner who put the writing on the wall at his previous run – in Adelaide.
- A talented home-town favourite who had taken all before him going into the big race, winning the two traditional lead-up events.
- An unknown quantity with huge wraps, prepared by the reigning Melbourne Cup-winning trainer.
- A couple of quality fillies, coming off excellent runs in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks the previous week.
The Derby winner, Russian Camelot, duly produced a memorable performance, sitting at the back of the field, three-wide the trip, then mowing down the super-brave Dalasan inside the final 100m. It was the win of a Group 1 horse – now favourite for the Melbourne Cup. And the top three in the market filled the trifecta.
Importantly, it also boosted the stocks of the SA Derby, which has unquestionably been among the highlights on the 2020 Australian racing calendar to date.