Vin De Dance salutes in Group 1 NZ Derby

Vin De Dance wins the NZ Derby. PIC: Trish Dunell.

OTI principal Terry Henderson paid a glowing tribute to his trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman after the Melbourne-based identity’s colours were carried to victory in the Gr.1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) on Saturday.

“Murray and Andrew have done a remarkable job and when it comes to stayers they’ve got no peers,” he said.

Success in the Derby has long been on Henderson’s wish list and Vin De Dance ensured it was ticked off in dramatic style at Ellerslie with his defeat of Mongolianconqueror and the filly Danzdanzdance.

“I rarely get emotional, but I’ve waited a long time to win this,” he said.

“I’ve come close a few times and I owe an enormous debt to this race and New Zealand-bred horses, it’s really special.

“It’s an amazing story really and I saw him in the ring (at Karaka) when he was passed in. I said to (bloodstock agent) Phill Cataldo, who owned the horse and he said it was a mate of his, Luigi Muollo.

“I asked Murray to tell me what he thought of the horse and we ended up getting him and now he’s won the Derby.”

Plans for Vin De Dance now include a trip across the Tasman. “He’ll go to Sydney as long as he pulls up well,” Henderson said.

The result was also a welcome one for Novara Park Stud principal Muollo, who has remained in the ownership, following the recent loss of his foundation stallion Jakkalberry while likewise for successful jockey Jason Waddell.

“It’s a dream come true, I really thought I had lost my chance in January when Demonetization got hurt,” Waddell said.

Vin De Dance came across from an awkward gate to race near the pace and he was finished tenaciously in the run home.

“They dawdled early and I got into a good spot and got him to relax,” Waddell said. “I knew he was tough and strong, it’s fantastic.”

Co-trainer Forsman was rich in his praise for the part Waddell played.

“We thought we had the horse spot on today and we just wanted him to have a clear run and Jason rode him a treat,” he said.