James Winks departed from the script to win the Queensland Derby aboard Magicool as runner-up Werther emerged with a hard luck tale from the Group One race.
Starting from barrier 14, Magicool ($14) was forced to race three wide for most of the race before winning the Derby by three quarters of a length from Werther, the $2.30 favourite, with Jumbo Prince ($21) a long head away third.
“I wanted to race a lot closer but they flew to the first turn and I was no hope of getting in,” Winks said.
“He was three deep but had cover until the 1000m when he was left exposed but there was nothing I could do about it.
“I thought I can’t hit the front too early after the run he had but he was rock-hard fit and today was his day.”
By contrast, jockey Jim Byrne was a forlorn figure after returning to scale aboard Werther.
The gelding was fifth passing the winning post the first time but was shuffled back along the fence and only had five runners behind him approaching the home turn.
“The inside alley was no help at all,” Byrne said.
“A few of the others were starting to zip around me and there was nothing I could do until we straightened up.”
Levi Kavanagh, representing his father Mark who trains Magicool, said the gelding would be aimed at the spring carnival but a Cups campaign was unlikely.
“I think he’s more suited to 2000-metre races around Moonee Valley without getting too carried away,” Kavanagh said.
“How high we aim with him remains to be seen but today was a good start.”
Magicool earned a Queensland trip after running fourth in the South Australian Derby.
“He beat older horses at Flemington and I said to James today to ride him exactly the way he did last start,” Kavanagh said.
“This horse is still maturing mentally and although he’s still working things out he’s heading the right way.”
Magicool gave Kavanagh his first Queensland Derby success after Shocking was runner-up in 2009 before winning the Melbourne Cup later that year.
Jumbo Prince pleased jockey Tim Bell with his effort to finish third after being among the tailenders on the home turn.