The 126th Queensland Derby (Aust-I) on June 8 will be remembered for its Danzig trifecta, provided by County Tyrone and the fillies Galroof and Miss Bussell. The winner was in effect rectifying things for Danewin, the first-crop Danehill son a close second in the more important Australian and Victoria Derbys.
Despite his close but no cigar classic runs, Danewin started what has become a giant snowball in collecting five group Is and more than $2 million (Australian funds) in his sire's name. From the Emirates Park Stud of his owner Nassar Lootah, his first group 1 winner, of the $500,000 Derby at Brisbane's Eagle Farm, is a member of his second generation.
Third after leading and showing any amount of courage, Miss Bussell is by another Danehill son in Danzero. A shuttler from Arrowfield to England's Cheveley Park in 2000-01, Danzero was the pick of Danehill's first crop at two.
Galroof is from the third of five crops left by Maroof before the death of Danzig's English group I winner at Cambridge Stud in December, 1999. She was unlucky when second to Mr. Bureaucrat against the older horses in the Doomben Cup (Aust-I) and bypassed the Queensland Oaks for the Derby to at least give her a 14-day break out of the Cup. There is little doubt she would have been too good in the Oaks, won by another Danzig descendant Mon Mekki (by Mukddaam).
The tactic appeared foolproof until she was overpowered near the end of the 2,4000 meters. Damien Oliver gave the filly a great run in the first half of the 18 and had her poised to strike at the top of the straight. Galroof responded well but County Tyrone's late surge carried him a short neck clear at the wire, Miss Bussell three-quarters of a length away in third. The 2:29 was 3.5 seconds adrift of the race record, the dead ground accounting for much of that.
The 3-year-old named for a slice of Ireland is prepared by Max Lees and was ridden superbly by Corey Brown. The gelding's 15 starts have yielded six wins, his best pointer to classic success a fifth behind Carnegie Express in the Canterbury Guineas (Aust-I) in March.
This edition delivered and the placegetters should go on. The heavy favourite, Distinctly Secret, had little luck in finishing fourth, but punters wishing to get square will almost certainly have to attempt that in Hong Kong.
Lovely Jubly, the provider of the first leg of a Danzig grade I double on Oaks day at Eagle Farm, has added another to postscript the Claiborne giant's Derby 1-2-3. The Queensland Turf Club's Sires' Produce Stakes (Aust-I) at 1,400 meters on June 1 had been a wire-to-wire cakewalk. But the step up to a mile off a nine day break in the T.J. Smith Stakes, the only Juvenile group I on the planet run as a handicap, proved more demanding. Her rise to 121 pounds challenged the Lion Hunter daughter to equal the weight record for a filly. In the end she had to work hard but did it grandly to defeat Miswaki grandson Top Echelon (by Umatilla) by a length and Sires' second Sir Breakfast a nose away.