Major Beel has taken out the 2023 edition of the Group 1 Australian Derby on Saturday afternoon, thanks to a strong front-running ride by jockey Tim Clark.
It came off the back of his runner-up placing in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes last weekend and the short turn around to go along with a moderate tempo throughout the 2400m journey, has seen the best of the Savabeel gelding on testing conditions.
Rank outsider, Domingo, lead them up initially before being headed by the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott galloper and it was all over bar the shouting with 200m to go.
Virtuous Circle was the best of the chasers running into second, while Suizuro and short-priced favourite for the race, Sharp N Smart put in bold efforts in the straight.
They were all playing for minor money however, as Major Beel was off and gone with the prize seeing out the trip best of the three-year-olds.
2023 Group 1 Australian Derby – Major Beel
Stable Representative Neil Payne spoke post-race about the training duo’s first win in the Australian Derby.
“I know Gai will be watching, said Payne.
“How good Gai you’ve won an ATC Derby! Gai and Adrian picked this horse out, we have got beautiful owners in this horse.
“We’re all jumping up and down. Adrian is unfortunately not here today because he had a family commitment (sister’s wedding). I’m sure Adrian at the wedding will be going beserk.”
Tim Clark was elated to get the win for the Waterhouse & Bott stable and spoke to his galloper’s toughness in the Derby trip.
“He traveled a bit strong throughout because he’s come out of two really fast run races, said Clark.
“Obviously up in trip to a really steady mile and a half, he just over traveled a bit throughout but that was helping him get through the ground.
“I felt them coming down the side but was just mindful of trying to hold onto him and help him as long as I could.
“He showed a great turn of foot at the top of the straight. On the line late, the second horse was coming to me, but he really dug in and fought hard like last week. Thankfully he was able to get his head in front today.
“Massive thrill to win a race like this and give Gai her first. I’ve been able to win a couple of races to give Gai her first, but there’s not a lot she hasn’t won. It’s nice to tick this box.”