A filly, one of only three in the field of 20, came swishing down the center of the Eagle Farm track to capture the group I Queensland Derby over 12 furlongs in Brisbane June 7.
Riva San (Any Given Sunday--Best River) was 15th coming to the bend on a heavy track but, just as she did last week when she won the group I Queensland Oaks against her own sex, she just accelerated with tremendous authority.
And in winning a race primarily dominated by colts over the years, Riva San broke a 16 year-old filly drought with her runaway win.
The New Zealander Royal Magic was the last filly to do the double in 1992 with Bravery also completing the double four years earlier. But neither was any more impressive than Riva San, who is trained by mercurial Victorian trainer Peter Moody.
The lightly framed filly started at 5 to 1 and settled off the speed before unleashing a terrific sprint to bury her rivals with just over a furlong to go before holding that margin to win by 1 ½ lengths from the game Kiwi visitor Petushki (Golan), who ran on solidly over the concluding stages from well back, too.
Third home was the race favorite, Moatize, who is trained by Bart Cummings. He ran a great race for a young horse having just his sixth start. And there was much fanfare leading up to the race as Moatize (Danehill Dancer) represented champion trainer Cummings’ best chance to record his 250th group I win.
He was given every opportunity by jockey Craig Williams but it was the filly, who was ridden by Queensland hoop Jim Byrne, who sprinted best when it mattered.
Her trainer, Peter Moody, was not in attendance to see the race. He instead was in England with his star group I sprinter Magnus who is prepping for a tilt at the group I King Stands Stakes at Royal Ascot in two weeks.
Many people feared the races here may not go ahead following heavy rain in Queensland during the week, but the sun shone just prior to the $500,000 Derby.
Fourth home was the well fancied Rainbow Styling.
Riva San now has won five races from 16 starts with four placings. She has earned $851,000 in stakes.