Preferment wins Victoria Derby at Flemington

The Chris Waller-trained Preferment has caused an upset taking out the Group One Victoria Derby at Flemington.

The hot favourite was the Gai Waterhouse-trained topweight Hampton Court, but the horse was sandwiched between runners just after the start and had to work hard to get to a second-place position.

Hampton Court hit the front on the turn but was soon swallowed up by the chasers, as Nozomi took over the lead and then Preferment and Bondeiger came as the swoopers down the outside.

Your last minute Spring Racing hat guide 
Score a Spring Racing outfit for under $100

The pair fought out the finish, and Preferment was too strong for Bondeiger to give Oliver his fifth Victoria Derby win as a jockey.

“(The horse was) very brave in the straight? He could be back here next year on the Tuesday, you know?” Oliver told the Seven Network.

“He’s that type of horse – he’s a real stayer. I think he’s only going to get better.”

Waller acknowledged the win over 2,500m also had him thinking about a longer distance at next year’s Cup Carnival.

“Look, he’s just a genuine stayer. He wound up a long way from home and got the result.

“Yeah, I guess so – Melbourne Cups are the next step, I guess. It’s good to know you’ve got a horse good enough to be at that level.”

In the previous race on Derby Day, Oliver had ridden the Mackinnon Stakes winner on board the Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails, which beat He’s Your Man in a photo-finish.

Earlier, the Darren Weir-trained Signoff sealed a spot in the Melbourne Cup with a win in the Group Three Lexus Stakes.

Ridden by Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira, Signoff was given a perfectly timed run to kicked clear and beat the Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory by three lengths.

La Amistad – a three-quarter sister to galloping great Makybe Diva – was third, a further seven lengths back.

A number of horses – including the second and third place-getters – were trying to earn a spot in the Melbourne Cup with a win in the race over 2,500m.

The David Hayes-trained Unchained My Heart was scratched earlier in the day, after Green Moon’s scratching from the Melbourne Cup brought Unchain My Heart up to 23rd in the order of entry.

Shoreham was 24th in the order of entry before the Lexus. It could have guaranteed a start by finishing first, second or third in the Lexus, however Signoff’s win means the horse now has to rely on scratchings from the field before final acceptances.

Happy Trails wins Mackinnon

In the Group One Mackinnon Stakes, Happy Trails won the 2,000m race in a photo finish from He’s Your Man – ridden by Moreira – with Farraaj in third.

Happy Trails had finished sixth last start in the Cox Plate, a year on from being the runner-up in the same race.

But there was no disappointment for Beshara this time, as Oliver timed his run perfectly to come down the outside on Happy Trails, going past Farraaj before fighting it out with He’s Your Man.

“I’m so rapt. It’s great for him to win a big one,” Oliver told the Seven Network after the race.

“It’s a great thrill to win a big race on Derby Day. Yeah, it’s fantastic for Paul and Eric, Pete, all the owners.”

Beshara was happy and relieved at the result.

“You could see on the outside he’s got it,” he told the Seven Network.

“He’s won his three Group Ones now and lost a couple too.

“You can’t beat it. Second Group One on him for Ollie. Should have had a couple of Cox Plates in there.

“A lot of races you should have but I’m just very, very happy.”

The Robert Hickmott-trained Amralah missed out on a start in the Melbourne Cup, after failing to place in the first three in the Mackinnon.

Final acceptances for the Melbourne Cup close at 4:30pm (AEDT), and the barrier draw will be held on Saturday evening.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.