Starcraft Takes Australian Derby; Neillo Seventh

Starcraft, something of a Phar Lap facsimile, overcame immaturity and courageous outsider Braeloch to win the Australian Derby (Aust-I) by a long head April 10 in front of 53,744--the largest Derby-day crowd in 40 years.

One consequence of the win by Soviet Star's son in the 143rd running of the $2 million (Australian funds) classic is that Freedom Cry is no longer alone as his sire's major winner beyond a mile.

The runner up is by former shuttler Prized and his wire-to-wire attempt under Dan Beasley came close to making him the first 100-1 winner of the race.

Starcraft has won $1.8 million for Paul and Lyn Makin and W.K. Chow. He was bred by the Chittick family's Waikato Stud and sold at the 2002 New Zealand premier yearling sale. Robert Dawe, a one-time competitor of Makin's in selling space for rival breeding magazines, before branching out as an agent, unearthed the colt and 'sold' his clients.

"I've found a modern-day Phar Lap for you," was the savvy opener that worked on a former salesman. Dawe paid $80,000 (NZ funds) for the third foal of Flying Floozie, by Pompeii Court.

Delzao (10-1) finished third, three-quarters of a length from the top pair. The Encosta de Lago colt finished 1 ΒΌ lengths ahead of Timber County's daughter, Timbourina, and Danehill's Victoria Derby (Aust-I) hero, Elvstoem. Timbourina gained fourth by a nose.

Special Harmony, a 9-4 co-favorite with the winner, and Niello didn't really figure in the stretch. Niello finished seventh in his Triple Crown bid. Jockey Darren Beadman said Niello didn't handle the damp ground, which saw the 2,400 meters take a slow 2:34.81.