Countdown starts to the 150th AJC Australian Derby

1The countdown to the 150th Group I AJC Australian Derby (2400m) kicks off this week with some of the biggest names in Australian racing giving an insight into what makes this classic race for three-year-olds one of Australia’s most prestigious thoroughbred events.

The first instalment features a rare interview with the winner of five Group I AJC Australian Derbies, legendary trainer Bart Cummings.

In the coming weeks in the lead-up to David Jones Australian Derby Day, the other video interviews will be released including Gai Waterhouse, “Miracle” Malcolm Johnston, Syd Brown, and four-time AJC Australian Derby winning jockey Ray Selkrig.

Each will give their own personal recounts on the great race, while also touching on the tradition and prestige associated with it.

As of Wednesday, race-lovers and history buffs around the country can catch these exclusive interviews on our website: 150th AJC Australian Derby Celebrations.

Cummings touches on all his winners, from Bermuda Lad in 1977 to Roman Emperor’s stunning victory in 2009, while also declaring the Group I AJC Australian Derby “the race that determines champion horses from the rest.”

“The AJC Derby is the premier race of autumn and there is no doubt it separates the good horses with staying potential from the bad ones.” Cummings said.

Gai Waterhouse trained last year’s runner-up Descarado and while victory in the Group I AJC Australian Derby (2400m) has eluded her thus far, the champion trainer states her desire to emulate her great father Tommy Smith and claim the great race.

“This is the most prestigious race of the Sydney Carnival and a vital stepping stone if you’re looking at the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup later in the year”, Waterhouse said.

“You have to be a great horse to win the race, with last year’s event a classic example. Descarado finished second to Shoot Out last year; both are great horses with my one going on to win the Caulfield Cup.”

Legendary jockey Ray Selkrig, who won four AJC Australian Derby races, nominates 1964 winner Royal Sovereign as his best.

“Royal Sovereign won three Derbies on three legs. He was an absolute champion,” Selkrig said.

The viral campaign featuring former trainers and jockeys is the first step in a series of events and promotions celebrating the 150th Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick.

“The David Jones AJC Australian Derby is a highlight of the Sydney Carnival and it’s only fitting that we celebrate the 150th year by honouring former jockeys and trainers that have made it Australia’s greatest race for three-year-olds,” ATC chief executive Darren Pearce said.

“The three-minute interviews give us a first-hand account of the classic race from some of the trainers and jockeys, providing a perfect appetiser for the running of this year’s event on Saturday, April 9 at Royal Randwick”.