By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens
Gai Waterhouse has been quick to show her hand for the spring’s staying features, nominating Saturday's Rosehill Gardens winner Thinkin’ Big as her ATC Derby horse.
The rising three-year-old, with Blake Shinn in the saddle, won the last two-year-old metro race of the season in Sydney. The son of High Chaparral led all of the way in the Owners Recognition Raceday Handicap (1500m).
Thinkin' Big kept finding at the finish
“I don’t waste my words when I tell you to mark him down for the Derby,” Waterhouse beamed.
“There are two winners from the last week from my stable that will go towards the Spring Champion Stakes and then the Derby, Sydney Blue, who won at the provincials, and this horse.”
Sydney Blue bares a striking resemblance to his half-brotherand Caulfield Cup-winner Fawkner and won his maiden at Kembla Grange in emphatic fashion last Saturday for the Waterhouse and Adrian Bott training partnership.
“(Thinkin’ Big) has got a bit more brilliance and more of a turn of foot. He is a lovely horse. They dawdled through the early stages of the race and Blake took a second to pick him up. The horse didn’t quite understand (what he was doing) at the top of the straight,” said Waterhouse.
Race favourite Laburnum, who was easy in betting late to jump $3.80 with TAB, loomed up to run straight past Thinkin’ Big but his staying prowess kicked in and he won comfortably to hold a 1.3L margin.
“He is nicely bred and is doing everything right to suggest he is going to get further. He is a bit untapped and who knows where he could end up,” Shinn said.
Meanwhile, Waterhouse revealed that Stampede, the older brother to Thinkin’ Big, is back in training having enjoyed a spell.
Glyn Schofield could offer no excuses for Laburnum, suggesting she had her chance but was no match for the winner at the finish, while you might find the third-placed Aliferous will also head towards the staying spring classics, with her breeding suggesting she’ll get out to 2000m and beyond.
“She doesn’t know what she is there for yet but once she strengthens up she is going to be a good filly,” said her jockey James McDonald.