The Group 1 Queensland Derby is a distance race of 2400m for three-year-olds, held at Eagle Farm every June.
The $600,000 feature staying event was one of the must-win races throughout the 80’s and 90’s, but the form has fallen away over the past few years. Horses such as Kingston Town, Rough Habit and Strawberry Road used the Queensland Derby to springboard their champion careers and that form will stand the test of time, but recent results are concerning.
Regardless of the quality of recent winners, the Queensland Derby gives punters of all varieties a chance at making some money. The last two winners have both paid double-figure odds with Sonntag and Magicool, but the previous three winners were all favourites, so there’s something for everyone.
Best Queensland Derby bookmakers
All of our recommended bookmakers have markets for the Queensland Derby, but the best is Sportsbet which frames the market very early.
Most of the Brisbane winter carnival races are covered early and the Group 1 Queensland Derby is no exception. The following bookmakers are ready to take bets on the staying feature.
Queensland Derby betting guide
The Queensland Derby is the final major staying race for three-year-olds which can mean the quality has deteriorated due to a long autumn campaign.
That has made the race wide open and punters have been able to find two good horses at long odds in the last two years. Sonntag and Magicool both won at $11 and although some of the form in behind them was a touch average, there was one runner in behind Magicool that is worth noting.
Magicool defeated Werther which is now dominating group one races in Hong Kong. It shows that superstars can come out of the Queensland Derby and the bookmakers offer good prices.
The favourites have a knack of finishing second in the Derby, which included Werther in 2015. The superstar was paying $2.25 to win and it joined a long list of beaten favourites. Future Melbourne Cup winner Shocking finished second as the favourite and the likes of Marble Halls, Paris Lane and Our Sophia have come close.
One of the biggest disappointments from a favourite was Myocard which finished fourth at odds of $1.60.
In the training ranks, John Hawkes has a great record of four wins from seven starters. New Zealand champion trainer John Wheeler also likes bringing his runners over to Brisbane and his two wins and three placings in the race justify that.
Our best tip for betting the Derby is finding the three-year-old that’s on the way up. Look for one that will likely contend races later that year in the spring and you won’t go wrong.
Past five Queensland Derby winners
2017: Ruthven was the well-backed favourite to win the 2017 Queensland Derby and it didn’t disappoint. The Ciaron Maher-trained colt was given a forward ride by Hugh Bowman, who took off around the home turn at Doomben and didn’t look back. Placegetters Rockstar Rebel and Ana Royale gave the Victorians the trifecta in a dominant result of staying power. Read the race report.
2016: Eagle Way was a dominant winner of the Derby and was subsequently sold to Hong Kong where it performed at high levels. The Bryan Guy-trained gelding by More Than Ready showed its class over a questionable field on three-year-old stayers, but it headed the field near the line to score by 1.75 lengths. Rodrico and I’m Belucci added some value to the multiples.
2015: The win of Magicool might not stand the test of time, but defeated a more-than-handy field which included Hong Kong Derby winner Werther. Magicool’s career might have come to a premature end, but it lived up to its hefty price tag of $250,000 by winning the Queensland Derby and it was made more special by being run at Doomben instead of the usual Eagle Farm.
2014: The Henry Dwyer-trained Sonntag took full advantage of the dry Eagle Farm surface by sprinting nicely over the last 100m. The son of Teofilo had drawn wide and was forced to travel wide throughout parts of the race, but the three-year-old powered past Pinstripe Lane and Vilanova to record a narrow win. The beaten brigade also included the well-performed Kiwis Rock Diva and Telepathic which have both won multiple times since.
2013: Hawkspur’s win in 2013 was one of the most impressive in history. The Chris Waller-trained gelding settled midfield before improving quickly around the final turn. It then took over in the straight to record an effortless victory over Electric Fusion and Honorius. That win paved a good career for Hawkspur, which wasn’t as good as many had hoped, but a handy career all the same. The 2013 field was one of the weakest in history, however, with the majority of the runners disappearing from the racing scene.
2012: Brambles was a popular winner for punters in 2012. The Peter Moody-trained gelding set a good pace in front at Eagle Farm and held off the strong challenge from the New Zealand runner Quintessential. Again, we question those in behind Brambles and nothing ever came of its career, but the prize purse of $500,000 helps and a group one beside the name is slated in history.
2011: Another popular winner, Shootoff was a punters favourite when it was racing and it gave New Zealand another win in the Derby. Graeme Rogerson lined up the son of Duelled and even though it raced three-wide for the last 1000m, it was good enough to fight off fellow Kiwi runner Shez Sinsational. The beaten horses were not worth noting, but Shootoff would continue that good form for a couple of seasons and Shez Sinsational would go on to win group one races in New Zealand.
Queensland Derby Past winners list
2018 – Dark Dream
2017 – Ruthven
2016 – Eagle Way
2015 – Magicool
2014 – Sonntag
2013 – Hawkspur
2012 – Brambles
2011 – Shootoff
2010 – Dariana
2009 – Court Ruler
2008 – Riva San
2007 – Empires Choice
2006 – Ice Chariot
2005 – Lachlan River
2004 – Toulouse Lautrec
2003 – Half Hennessy
2002 – County Tyrone
2001 – De Gaulle Lane
2000 – Freemason
1999 – Camarena
1998 – Dodge
1997 – Yippyio
1996 – Valance
1995 – Turridu
1994 – Tenor
1993 – Air Seattle
1992 – Royal Magic
1991 – Dorset Downs
1990 – Rough Habit
1989 – Hidden Rhythm
1988 – Bravery
1987 – Princess Gracious
1986 – Handy Proverb
1985 – Tristina
1984 – Librici
1983 – Strawberry Road