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Some facts about the Victoria Derby


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Some facts about the Group One $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) to be run at Flemington on Saturday.-

* First run in 1855 when won by Rose Of May, the Victoria Derby is six years older than the Melbourne Cup and one of the oldest races in the world.

* The title of the race was first mooted in 1779 as a contest at Epsom, England, for colts and fillies, and decided by the toss of a coin between the 12th Earl Of Derby and a great racing administrator, Sir Charles Bunbury. Had the result been different the event would have become the Epsom Bunbury.

* Some greats of the Australasian turf have won the race including: Fireworks (1867-68); Briseis (1876); Chester (1877); Martini-Henri (1883); Trident (1886); Maltster (1900); Poseidon (1906); Patrobas (1915); Spearfelt (1924); Manfred (1925); Phar Lap (1929); Hall Mark (1933); Skipton (1941); Comic Court (1948); Delta (1949); Hydrogen (1951); Sailor’s Guide (1955); Tulloch (1957); Sky High (1960); Craftsman (1963); Tobin Bronze (1965); Daryl’s Joy (1969); Silver Sharpe (1970); Classic Mission (1971); Dayana (1972); Taj Rossi (1973); Dulcify (1978); Grosvenor (1982); Red Anchor (1984); Handy Proverb (1985); Stylish Century (1989); Mahogany (1993); Blevic (1994); Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995); Arena (1998); Elvstroem (2003); Efficient (2006).

* Geldings were barred from running in the race from 1931 until 1956. This followed the success of geldings Phar Lap (1929) and Johnnie Jason (1931).

* James Scobie holds the training record with eight winners, the last being Hua in 1937.

* Bart Cummings and the late TJ Smith share the modern-day training honours with five winners each. Smith scored with Tulloch (1957), Travel Boy (1959), Silver Sharpe (1970), Brewery Boy (1981) and Red Anchor (1984). Cummings’ winners are Dayana (1972), Taj Rossi (1973), Stormy Rex (1977), Bounty Hawk (1983) and Omnicorp (1987).

* Cummings’ father Jim also won with Comic Court in 1948.

* Randwick trainer Gai Waterhouse, daughter of TJ Smith, became the first woman to prepare a Victoria Derby winner when Nothin’ Leica Dane, part-owned by her father, was successful in 1995.

* The late Colin Hayes trained four Derby winners – Haymaker (1974), Unaware (1976), Dulcify (1978) and King’s High (1988). His son David prepared 1994 winner Blevic and 2007 victor Kibbutz and his other son, the late Peter, won with Blackfriars in 1999.

* 1987 winner Omnicorp was the first Derby winner sired by a previous winner since 1919 when Richmond Main, by 1909 winner Prince Foote, won. Grosvenor, sire of Omnicorp, won the Classic in 1982.

* Legendary jockey Bobby Lewis won the race a record eight times. Tommy Hales won seven times and Jim Pike had six victories, while Darby Munro was successful five times. More recently, Roy Higgins won four and Damien Oliver has three.

* One of Australia’s most revered racehorses, Carbine, did not win a Victoria Derby, being runner-up to Ensign in 1888. However, Carbine sired two winners, Wallace (1895) and Amberite (1897).

* Carbine’s son Wallace, the 1895 Victoria Derby winner, sired six winners of the race – F.J.A. (1903), Lady Wallace (1905), Mountain King (1907), Wilari (1911), Woolawa (1912) and Patrobas (1915).

* Tulloch was the shortest-priced favourite at 1-10 when he won in 1957 beating Prince Darius by eight lengths. That season Tulloch won 14 of his 16 starts.

* Martini-Henri won the 1883 Victoria Derby at his first race start and the Melbourne Cup at his second outing.

* Fire Oak (1990) became the first maiden since Martini-Henri to win the race and just two years later Redding repeated that feat, giving Damien Oliver his first winning ride.

* The AAMI Vase (2040m), run a week earlier at Moonee Valley, is traditionally a good guide to the Derby – Efficient (2006), Plastered (2004), Helenus (2002), Blevic (1994) and Raveneaux (1986) have completed the double while Elvstroem (2003), Second Coming (1997), Portland Player (1996), Mahogany (1993) and King’s High (1988) were placed in the AAMI Vase before going on to win the Derby.

* Three of the past 20 Derby winners have gone on to run in the Melbourne Cup three days later. Nothin’ Leica Dane did best finishing second to Doriemus in the 1995 Melbourne Cup while Arena (1998) was 15th and Stylish Century (1989) was 21st.

* Seven favourites have won in the past two decades with Rebel Raider (2008) at $101 the longest-priced winner during that period.

* The last jockey to ride back-to-back winners was Roy Higgins with Dayana (1972) and Taj Rossi (1973).

* Jockeys who have won the Derby and have a ride this year: Damien Oliver – Smokin’ Joey (Elvstroem 2003, Amalfi 2001, Redding 1992); Craig Williams – Praecido (Kibbutz 2007); Corey Brown – Shootoff (Monaco Consul 2009); Steven King – Almindoro (Helenus 2002, Star Of The Realm 1991); Michael Rodd – Cosmonaut (Efficient 2006); Jim Cassidy – Tale Of Thunder (Omnicorp 1987, Handy Proverb 1985).

* Trainers who have won the Derby and have a runner this year: Lee Freedman – Smokin’ Joey (Benicio 2005, Portland Player 1996, Mahogany 1993); Bart Cummings – Kudakulari, Cosmonaut (Omnicorp 1987, Bounty Hawk 1983, Stormy Rex 1977, Taj Rossi 1973, Dayana 1972); Graeme Rogerson – Shootoff (Efficient 2006); Mike Moroney – Absolutelyawesome (Monaco Consul 2009, Second Coming 1997).

* John Hawkes trained the 1998 winner Arena and 1975 victor Galena Boy. He now trains in partnership with his sons Michael and Wayne and will be represented by Shadowofexcellence on Saturday.