Victorian-trained horses have dominated in a thrilling finish to the Australian Derby with Explosive Jack nailing Young Werther in a photo finish.
Seven starts, three states and now two Derbys.
Explosive Jack has taken his connections on the ride of a lifetime, culminating in his last-stride win in Saturday’s time-honoured Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained three-year-old took an unorthodox path to the Sydney classic, starting his career with a maiden win in Victoria and launching a successful hit-and-run raid on the Tasmanian Derby, via the NSW provincial circuit.
His win in Hobart got Maher thinking about an Australian Derby bid and the bold plan came to fruition on Saturday when Explosive Jack ($16) reeled in Young Werther ($15) to score by a half-head with Lion’s Roar ($8.50) another head back third.
“This horse, we’ve moved him around. He was in Victoria, he came up here and (jockey) Johnny Allen actually thought the Tassie Derby might be a good race for him,” Maher said.
“Then we thought, with the ease of that, we would target this and it was a ten out of ten ride to Johnny.
“This horse has been in work a long time. It’s been to all our stables and the team have done an extraordinary job with him.”
Montefilia was sent out favourite in her bid to become the first filly since Research in 1989 to upstage the boys but after saving ground along the fence and presenting at the right time, she failed to finish the race off.
“She travelled a bit strong. Shot through but overpowered late,” jockey Jason Collett said.