By Julieanne Horsman
Jon Snow has claimed his first Group 1 victory with a hard fought win in the $2million Australian Derby.
The colt chased down Harper’s Choice in the straight, and after a battle where the lead changed several times, he came out on top. A fast-finishing Hardham snatched 3rd.
“It’s a great thrill to win a Derby,” jockey Damian Lane said.
“I was very lucky to get on him last week (for his win in the G2 Tulloch Stakes) and happy to stick with him today. He was too good.”
It’s the 4th Australian Derby win for New Zealand-based Murray Baker, who now trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman.
“It’s a pleasure to be in partnership with a great trainer,” Forsman said. “He’s a master and knows how to bring them over here and get the job done. He knows how to get them fit and ready and just glad we pulled it off.”
Jockey Jason Collett was full of praise for his runner-up Harper’s Choice, trained by Gerald Ryan at Rosehill.
“He had a lovely time in front,” Collett said. “He had a soft lead with no pressure. He managed to figure in the finish but was just out-toughed by the Kiwi horse.”
Third place getter, Hardham, put in an eye catching performance in less than ideal conditions.
“It was a really good run,” jockey Luke Nolen said. “He never really handled the track at any stage so for him to grind on and whack away as well as he has, I’m really proud of his effort.”
Favourite Gingernuts finished a disappointing fifth after dropping back at the start.
“It is hard to make up ground today,” jockey Opie Bossom said. “He got a few bumps along the top which put him on the wrong leg and took the stuffing out of him a bit but he fought on okay.”
Jon Snow has extended New Zealand’s success in the Australian Derby.
Last year’s race was taken out Tavago, who was bred at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand but trained in Victoria. The year before, it was won by Murray Baker’s Mongolian Khan.