A last-minute decision to start has turned into a Group One triumph after Fiveandahalfstar won the $1.5 million Victoria Derby at Flemington on Saturday.
It was only on the advice of jockey Damien Oliver that trainer Anthony Cummings pressed ahead with plans to run the gelding in Australia’s oldest classic.
“I’m glad that I was able to talk Anthony into running,” Oliver said.
“He couldn’t have had him any fitter and he turned out to be the best stayer on the day.”
Fiveandahalfstar tracked the leader Jimando throughout the 2500m race before working his way to the front as the field swept into the straight.
He lifted strongly under Oliver’s urgings when challenged by Super Cool and drew clear late to beat the Mark Kavanagh-trained galloper.
Rawnaq flashed home late to take the minor placing.
Race favourite, the New Zealand-trained It’s A Dundeel, raced in the second half of the field and never raised the hopes of his backers.