Danehill Dominates Victoria Derby Undercard

Victoria Derby Day at Flemington boasts no less than five grade I events and three of the four Derby support races fell to offspring of Danehill sons Nov. 4.

The Dane came up empty in the Victoria Derby, although Danever tried valiantly to supply him with a fifth success in the race, before coming in fourth behind Efficient.

But sons of Danehill made short work of the undercard grade Is, all worth $500,000 (Australian funds). Perhaps the most notable of them was by Desert War in the Motorola-sponsored Mackinnon Stakes.

The noted front-runner led for every step of the 2,000 meters to win easily by 2 1/4 lengths. Growl supplied a pair of seconds for his sire, Montjeu, also the sire of Derby runner-up, Gorky Park, a race earlier.

By Desert King, sire of triple Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner, Makybe Diva, Desert War has been a grand campaigner and winner of $1.8 million, although five previous attempts at 2,000 meters had netted a solitary third.

But with the high-class miler left completely alone in the lead, the other 14 riders opposing the 6-year-old and Chris Munce appeared prepared to concede defeat, which they did well before the 2:02.38 expired.

The dead surface was biased somewhat towards leaders and certainly favored runners near the inside rail -- in both instances more pronounced than the dirt oval at Churchill Downs for Breeders' Cup day.

Punters sent close Cox Plate (Aus-I) second El Segundo postward a 7-4 elect but, when he made his run wide, fourth was the best he could manage.

Desert War is trained by Gai Waterhouse, she and Munce also combining to the day's final gr.I, the Salinger Stakes, with Dance Hero. To become his trainer's ninth gr.1 in Melbourne and 75th overall, Dance Hero led on the grandstand side of the straight 1,200 meters in 1:08.62.

Waterhouse and her support handlers have nursed 5-year-old through arthritis in the past few seasons, the Salinger his first gr.I success since he won the Junior Triple Crown at 2. His earnings stand at $3.8 million.

Those early successes by Dance Hero gave a great start to the stud career of first-crop Danehill son, Danzero. Arrowfield Stud has built on that success with other Danehill sons, Flying Spur and Redoute's Choice.

Gold Edition opened the gr.I scoring for Danehill sons with a runaway victory in the Ascot Vale Stakes. The leading sprint for 3-year-olds moved from an early September time slot with a promotion from gr.II as Longines took up sponsorship.

The Queensland filly has crammed 17 starts, for eight wins and more than $1 million, into less than 1 1/2 seasons, but there was no doubting her authority as she romped away to win by 4 lengths under Jim Byrne in 1:09.55 for the 1,200 meters.

Gold Edition is by Lion Hunter, a prematurely deceased Danehill son who worked in Queensland. Her dam, Glimmers, is by Success Express, the BC Juvenile winner rostered for several seasons at the Noble Park Stud of Gold Edition's breeders, Peter and Wendy Moran. They sold her for $130,000 to owners Kevin and Tanith O'Brien.

The other gr.I to escape the Danehill sons fell to Spinning World filly Lyrical Bid, who upset the favorite Sea Change in the Myer Classic (Aus-I). Spinning World is also the sire of the third-placed Kosi Bay.

Permaiscuous provided an early clue in winning the program opener, the Carbine Club Stakes (Aus-II), as the 3-year-old also boasts Danehill as a paternal grandsire. The filly with 47 female owners – and one male – is by Woodlands Stud resident Commands.