Kiwi Bred Detonator Jack wins $1million The Gong

Media Release - Saturday November 25

With a spectacular performance in The Illawarra Mercury Gong (1600m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday, Detonator Jack delivered a second consecutive New Zealand-bred victory in the A$1 million race.

The Gong was introduced in 2019 and had previously been won by the Kiwi-bred Group One performer Riodini 12 months ago. Detonator Jack was among the favourites to follow suit, having run strong placings in the A$1 million Five Diamonds Prelude (1500m) and A$2 million Five Diamonds (1800m) in his two previous runs. The five-year-old was sent out as a $4.60 chance on Saturday and produced a breathtaking performance.

Detonator Jack wins the $1million The Gong - image Steve Hart

Ridden by expat New Zealand jockey Jason Collett, Detonator Jack settled in the second half of the field but began to creep closer coming down the side of the track. By the time he reached the home turn, Detonator Jack had moved up into fourth and was poised to pounce.

Collett pushed the button in the straight and Detonator Jack exploded, bounding clear and winning by two and a quarter lengths. The largely New Zealand-owned Loch Eagle crossed the line in second place, with Kiwi-bred Osipenko third.

“We were in a lovely spot, and I think the blinkers definitely helped him today,” Collett said. “When I needed him to be there, he was there. The softer ground was probably a bit of an advantage too.

“I thought I got there a bit soon, it’s a long straight, but he’s a powerful horse and he had enough left in the tank. That acceleration would have looked pretty impressive, and it felt good too.”

Trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Detonator Jack has now had 15 starts for six wins, seven placings and A$1.3 million in stakes.

“This horse has been in really good form and our team have done a super job with him,” Maher said. “He hit that little flat spot last start, so coming back in trip today, we thought it might be an ideal time to put blinkers on.

“He just travelled so sweet. I was pretty confident throughout the race. Jason gave him a great ride. We didn’t have to tell him much, he knows the horse pretty well.

“This horse has always threatened to win a big one, and he’s gone pretty close in his last couple. It’s been a fantastic preparation.

“I think we’ll go to the Ballarat Cup (Listed, 2000m) in a couple of weeks. A lot of the owners are Ballarat locals, so hopefully he can carry on this form there. But it was an unbelievable effort today.”

Bred by Craig Dunphy and his wife Steph, Detonator Jack is a son of the late Jakkalberry and the No Excuse Needed mare Red Delicious, who is also the dam of the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Madison County.

Detonator Jack races for Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock. Dance was involved in the ownership of the international top-flight winner and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) placegetter Jakkalberry, who retired as the foundation sire at Luigi Muollo’s Novara Park in 2014, but sadly succumbed to an intestinal infection four years later.

Dance has understandably kept a close watch on the progeny of the Storming Home stallion and when opportunity knocked in the form of Detonator Jack he sealed the deal, subsequently syndicating the gelding and remaining in the ownership.

“I raced Jakkalberry and he was sold to Luigi after he finished racing and I was always keen to race some of his progeny,” he said.

“I got a phone call out of the blue from Mike Rennie and said he had been out to dinner with a mate of his (Cambridge horseman Mark Brooks) and he had a Jakkalberry that he owned half of with his partner.

“He broke it in and reckoned it had a bit of x-factor. I looked up the pedigree and ended up buying it off his word.”

Rennie, now Waikato Stud’s Business Manager, had previously recommended Yogi to Dance and the Raise The Flag gelding went on to win eight races, including a brace at Listed level.

“I’ve known Mike for a long time and dealt with him when he was working with Michael Wallace as an agent and we became quite good friends,” Dance said. NZ Racing Desk.


Race Result - The Illawarra Mercury Gong 1600m

Kembla Grange Track: Heavy(8) Time: 1:36.70
Detonator Jack
- 5g Jakkalberry (IRE) x Red Delicious (NZ) (No Excuse Needed (GB))
Tnr: C Maher & D Eustace Rdr: J R Collett 56
Loch Eagle
- 5g Lonhro (AUS) x Song Street (IRE) (Shamardal (USA))
Tnr: K A Lees Rdr: Reece Jones 52
MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale $230,000
Seller: Newgate Farm, Aberdeen, NSW
Buyer: Bruce Perry Bloodstock Ltd (BAFNZ)
- 4h Pierro (AUS) x Raskova (USA) (Henrythenavigator (USA))
Tnr: C J Waller Rdr: J B Mc Donald 58.5
NZB Karaka Book 1 $160,000
Seller: Valachi Downs
Buyer: Kaha / Chris Waller Racing
New Mandate
- 6g New Bay (GB) x Mishhar (IRE) (Authorized (IRE))
Tnr: C J Waller Rdr: J Parr 58.5
- 5g Awtaad (IRE) x Wake Up (GER) (Soldier Of Fortune (IRE))
Tnr: C J Waller Rdr: Regan Bayliss 54.5
Cuban Royale
- 9g Casino Prince (AUS) x Cuban Girl (AUS) (Hemingway (IRE))
Tnr: R & L Price Rdr: Brock Ryan 52
- 5g Ghibellines (AUS) x Carolina Island (NZ) (Darci Brahma (NZ))
Tnr: J G Sargent Rdr: K Jennings 57
- 6g Twilight Son (GB) x Wake Up (GER) (Soldier Of Fortune (IRE))
Tnr: C J Waller Rdr: J Ford 52.5
- 4g Russian Revolution (AUS) x Cappadocia (AUS) (Northern Meteor (AUS))
Tnr: Michael Freedman Rdr: Rachel King 56.5
- 8g Mukhadram (GB) x Skyrider (IRE) (Dalakhani (IRE))
Tnr: C J Waller Rdr: Tom Sherry 58
Surf Dancer
- 7g Lope De Vega (IRE) x Beach Belle (GB) (Invincible Spirit (IRE))
Tnr: G Waterhouse & A Bott Rdr: Tim Clark 58.5
Art Cadeau
- 7g Artie Schiller (USA) x Jewelled Gate (AUS) (Hurricane Sky (AUS))
Tnr: T J Robinson Rdr: Jett Stanley 52.5
Wild Planet
- 8g Animal Kingdom (USA) x Salutations (AUS) (Redoute's Choice (AUS))
Tnr: M, W & J Hawkes Rdr: Tyler Schiller 54
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