Karaka Trifecta in Australian Derby

Media Release - Monday April 12

The stamina and class of New Zealand-sourced three-year-olds has again shone through on the big stage in Australia with a New Zealand-bred, Karaka-sold trifecta in Saturday’s A$2m Group One Bentley Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.

Explosive Jack (NZ) (Jakkalberry), who was bought for $100,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2019, became the 10th Australian Derby winner in the last 15 years to be bred or sold in New Zealand. He edged out Young Werther (NZ) (Tavistock), who was bought for $140,000 at Karaka 2019. Third-placed Lion’s Roar (NZ) (Contributer), previously a winner of the Group One Randwick Guineas (1600m), cost only $65,000 at the same sale.

Explosive Jack wins the G1 Australian Derby - image Steve Hart.

New Zealand-bred and Karaka-sold three-year-olds have dominated the Sydney carnival, with Mo’unga (NZ) (Savabeel) also triumphing in the Group One Rosehill Guineas (2000m), while fellow Karaka graduate Johnny Get Angry (NZ) (Tavistock) won the Group One Victoria Derby (2500m) in Melbourne in the spring.

Explosive Jack is trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace for a big group of owners, and he went into Saturday’s Derby as the winner of three of his six starts – including a four-length romp in the Listed Tasmanian Derby (2200m) in February. He also placed in the Group Two Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) in Melbourne.

Saturday’s Australian Derby was the biggest test of his stamina and quality, and he passed with flying colours.

Explosive Jack dropped out near the back of a strung-out field, and jockey John Allen bided his time when the leaders increased the speed coming down the side of the track.

Allen brought Explosive Jack out into clear air at the top of the straight and sent him through his gears, and he slowly but surely started to finish over the top of his opposition.

But Young Werther and Lion’s Roar quickened with him, and the trio went to the lead side-by-side with 100 metres to run. In a memorable, head-bobbing battle to the finish, Explosive Jack prevailed by a half-head.

“He’s a tough horse,” Allen said. “The distance was never going to be a worry with him. Once we got to the outside, he really let down. He tries his guts out, this horse.”

Explosive Jack has now had seven starts for four wins, two placings and A$1.5m in stakes – more than 16 times his purchase price at Karaka 2019.

“It’s phenomenal, really,” Maher said. “This horse has been in work a long time. He’s been to all our stables, and the team have done an extraordinary job with him. His last piece of work on Saturday was the best piece he’s done since he’s had a saddle on his back.

“With every run, he’s got better – every run. He’s still improving now, so who knows where the ceiling is?”

Runner-up Young Werther also placed in the Victoria Derby in the spring. He has had eight starts for a win and five placings, far surpassing his $140,000 purchase price with A$673,500 in stakes.

Lion’s Roar has had nine starts for four wins and two placings, earning more than A$1m – in excess of 16 times his $65,000 purchase price.

But the spotlight belongs to Explosive Jack, who was bred by Luigi Muollo’s Explosive Breeding Ltd and is a son of the ill-fated Jakkalberry, who stood for four seasons at Muollo’s Novara Park. Explosive Jack was offered by Novara Park in Book 1 of Karaka 2019.

Explosive Jack is out of the Listed-winning Extra Explosive (NZ) (Ekraar), who is a half-sister to the dam of the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Vin de Dance (NZ) (Roc de Cambes) – who was also a Karaka graduate.

Explosive Jack is a half-brother to Pick Number One (NZ) (Darci Brahma), who was passed in at both the 2016 Premier Sale and Ready to Run Sale. He has won five races in Hong Kong, where he was named Champion Griffin in 2017-18, and has earned more than HK$4.8 million.

Another half-brother, by Time Test, was bought by Benner Racing for $65,000 from Book 1 of Karaka 2021.



Novara Park


Moody Racing (Victoria)


Jakkalberry – Extra Explosive


Lot 21, Karaka 2019 Book 1, $100,000

Bred by

Explosive Breeding Ltd

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