The $700,000 (New Zealand funds) classic has rarely been attempted by Australian barns in its 133-year history, but the Sydney trainer’s achievement is no less remarkable for all of that.
Redoute's Dancer is the sixth Australian-bred winner, but just the third in the past 120 years after the champion Gloaming in 1919 and Bronze Eagle 13 years later.
Ridden by Vinny Colgan, Redoute's Dancer ran as a 21-10 elect on the strength of an easy win at his only other start in New Zealand, the Championship Stakes (NZ-II) at 2,100 meters 14 days earlier.
Colgan always had the favorite well placed and his final drive saw him run down Montjeu colt Mettre En Jeu the third elect at 6-1, to win by a half-length.
Uberalles, a first-born daughter of 2001 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) heroine Ethereal, ran home strongly for third, three parts of a length away. Uberalles (20-1) is by Giant's Causeway .
The 2,400 meters was negotiated in 2:27.2 to result in the 10th individual grade I winner for Arrowfield Stud’s white hot sire Redoute's Choice. In defense of his title, the Danehill son also led the Australian general earnings list into March with $5,398,806 (Australian funds). He is around $200,000 ahead of Coolmore’s non-shuttler, Encosta de Lago, runner up last season.
Redoute's Dancer was the first yearling purchased by Perth owner Paul Silvestro, costing him $230,000 at the 2005 Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
The $2 million Australian Derby (Aus-I) on April 6 looms for the colt, an earner of $543,750 in winning four of seven races, with two minor placings.
“He's a genius, Tim Martin,” Silvestro said in his acceptance speech. “And Vinny, I hardly know you, but what an unbelievable ride.”
It was Colgan’s fourth victory in New Zealand’s leading classic.
Redoute's Dancer is the third foal of unraced El Gran Senor mare Condescendance, a sibling of multiple Japanese graded winner Biko Pegasus. His second dam, Condessa, won the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) and ran second in the Irish Oaks (Ire-I).
Sensation followed the Derby when Mettre En Jeu’s rider Lisa Cropp alleged that on returning to scale she saw Colgan hand a "silver device" to veteran jockey Noel Harris on third-place finisher Uberalles.
The media were locked out of the hearing at which officials decided, after viewing videos of the alleged incident, there was no evidence to support Cropp's allegation.
It took almost 30 minutes for Redoute's Dancer to be confirmed as the winner of the race.