Derby Dreaming, Who is Bred to Stay?

Tara Madgwick - Wednesday October 28

The Group I VRC Victoria Derby is worth a whopping $2 million making it the richest race for spring three year-olds in the country and the testing trip of 2500m means not always the best horse wins, but rather the horse that stays best on the day.

2500 metres is a long way and the gruelling last furlong frequently undoes some of the better horses, leaving the grinders to fight out the finish so let’s take a look at the pedigrees in the search for roughies to challenge the favourites.

1/ Cherry Tortoni (3g Night of Thunder (IRE) x Tortoni, by Strategic) – Has always looked a Derby contender from his 2YO days and scored last start win in the traditional lead up, G2 Moonee Valley Vase on Cox Plate Day (2040m).

Cherry Tortoni wins the G2 Moonee Valley Vase - image Brett Holburt Racing Photos

From the one and only Australian crop of Dubawi’s G1 Two Thousand Guineas winner Night of Thunder, who has become a very successful young sire in Europe, albeit still looking for his first Group I winner. Dam only won over 1000m and is by a speed sire in Strategic, but she is a half-sister to one of the all time great stayers in Tie the Knot, who finished second in the Victoria Derby of his year. Cherry Tortoni does look a lot like Tie the Knot, so let’s hope he got his long distance staying genes as well as the outward appearance!

2/ Albarado (NZ) (3c Savabeel x O’Fille, by O’Reilly) – Kiwi bred that stamped his credentials winning the G3 Caulfield Classic (2000m), so is running as his pedigree would suggest.

Albarado wins the G3 Caulfield Classic in a blanket finish - Racing Photos

By champion staying sire Savabeel from O’Fille, a G3 winner up to 2100m, whose dam is by Victoria Derby winner Grosvenor and next two dams by renowned Kiwi staying sires War Hawk II and Le Filou, so there are no chinks in the genetic armour.

3/ Johnny Get Angry (NZ) (3g Tavistock x Luminova, by Zabeel) – Still a maiden, but stakes-placed in some of the key lead up races and last start third in G2 Moonee Valley Vase.

Bred on very successful Tavistock x Zabeel cross that has produced Derby winners Tarzino and Tavago as well as HK staying superstar Werther and Oaks winner Toffee Tongue. His grand-dam Pavlova was a SW up to 2000m and her dam was a half-sister to G1 South Australian Derby winner Markham. Pedigree ticks all the boxes.


4/ Let’s Karaka Deel (NZ) (3c Dundeel x Tegwin, by O’Reilly) – Lightly raced with just four starts and only just missed when second in the G3 Caulfield Classic.


His sire Dundeel was a Champion 3YO that won the Australian Derby and while his dam only won up to 1600m, her dam Anne Carina was a SW up to 2500m, so there is plenty of reason to think the longer trip will suit.

5/ Young Werther (NZ) (3g Tavistock x Romantic Time, by Fastnet Rock) – Started twice for debut win at Geelong over 1500m and then second in Listed Super Impose Stakes (1800m).

By proven source of classic horses Tavistock from an Australian bred winner at 1250m that is a half-sister to Silver Slipper winner Amelia’s Dream from speedy SW Shalt Not. The immediate female family is about speed, but further back we have a great stayer in Grand Zulu, so given Danny O’Brien is training Young Werther as a stayer I’m inclined to think that’s what he is.

6/ Hit the Shot (3c Dundeel x Tang, by Redoute’s Choice ) – Lightly raced with just four starts and last start close third in G3 Caulfield Classic.

Another runner for Dundeel and this one from an unplaced sister to SW sprinter Zestful from the family of Group I sprinters Zeditave and Melito. This family has thrown up the odd stayer and he does have a double cross 4 x 4 of Sir Tristram that will help him over the last little bit.

7/ Cetshwayo (3g Dundeel x Haraka, by Foreplay) - Won Flemington Derby Trial (1800m) at second start and last start sixth in G3 Caulfield Classic.



Cetshwayo wins the Flemington Derby Trial - Racing Photos

Yet another by Dundeel and this one a homebred bred for Trevor Delroy, a renowned breeder of stayers, who plans the pedigree to succeed in these long distance races. His second and third dams are by Rainbow Quest (Arc winner) and Troy (Epsom Derby winner) and there are plenty of international Black Type stayers on the page. Never underestimate a Trevor Delroy bred 3YO in a classic!

8/ Redwood Shadow (NZ) (3g Redwood (GB) x Prickley Princess, by Thorn Park) -  Won Ballarat maiden at 1600m at second start and then close fourth in the G3 Caulfield Classic.

By a G1 winning son of outstanding staying sire High Chaparral from a winner up to 1800m and is closely related to G1 winner Pondarosa Miss and 2400 SW Ecuador, both sired by High Chaparral, the family also producing outstanding miler Te Akau Shark. Plenty of tough European staying blood further back, so nothing not to like on pedigree.

9/ Wertheimer (NZ) (3g Tavistock x Wild About Me, by Lonhro) – Maiden winner over 1300m at Cranbourne from five starts and after a good sixth in Flemington Derby Trial disappointed when unplaced G1 Spring Champion when everything went wrong.

Yet another contender by Tavistock and this one from a 1350m winning Lonhro mare, whose dam Like Me Wild was a talented stakes placed performer, albeit not really a stayer. His sire and trainers will take him a long way.

10/ Tour of Duty (3c Hinchinbrook x Rippled (GB), by Dalakhani) – Still a maiden but second in Flemington Derby Trial and close fifth in G3 Caulfield Classic indicate he’s in the mix.

Half-brother to Greysful Glamour, who was second in the VRC Oaks, and is a full brother to Celestial Falls, who was placed in an Ethereal Stakes and a Doomben Roses, however did not contest the Oaks races of her year. The stamina shown by that pair and Tour of Duty is all from the female side as their dam Rippled has a pedigree packed with European staying blood and she’s transmitting it reliably. Hard as it is to see Hinchinbrook as the sire of a Derby horse, you have to put your faith in the flip side of the pedigree, which appears to be dominant.

11/ Token Spirit (3c Wandjina x Miss Keepsake, by Keeper) – Won Benalla maiden at 2046m from four starts and most recently fourth in Listed Geelong Classic (2200m).

One the score of pedigree, this fellow is pinning all his hopes on Mum, who won the G1 Queensland Oaks and comes from a family steeped in classic superstars such as Grosvenor and Mahaya as well as champions Lonhro and Lankan Rupee. He can stay, but I fear he cannot stay fast enough to be in the finish.

12/ Born to Succeed (3c Snitzel x Miss Match (ARg), by Indygo Shiner) -  Broke his maiden at Wodonga at start six over 2050m, so comes into this a last start winner.

Dam was a dual G1 winner in Argentina up to 2000m and comes from a high class Black Type South American family, albeit not long distance stayers. Snitzel has never sired a Derby or Oaks winner and that’s not going to change on Saturday.

13/ Wisaka (NZ) (3g Tavistock x Sarvon, by Zabeel) – Still a maiden after four starts, most recently fifth in Listed Geelong Classic.

Bred on that magic Tavistock x Zabeel cross and is a half-brother to G3 placed Swords Drawn and to the dam of G3 winner Vigor Winner, although neither of those won beyond a mile. The female family leans to speed and has produced Group I winning milers Casino Prince, Onemorenomore and Prince Fawaz, so he’s got plenty of pedigree, he just lacks ability.

14/ Kenzan (3g Adelaide (IRE) x Canelot, by Canny Lad) – Still a maiden after four starts and was seventh in Geelong Classic after a second in 2265m maiden at Geelong.

His sire won the Cox Plate and is by Galileo, so you can see why connections harbour the Derby Dream, but female pedigree leaves me cold. Dam won over 1300m and is by Golden Slipper winner Canny Lad from a daughter of Danehill’s very unsuccessful full brother Nuclear Freeze (USA)… now there’s a stallion that really received the shallow end of the gene pool!


1/ Let’s Karaka Deel

2/ Cetshwayo

3/ Albarado

Roughie Johnny Get Angy


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