The aptly named Super Cool won the $220,000, Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday defeating the $1.30 favourite It’s A Dundeel (NZ) and opening up the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington in a weeks’ time, a race which had been thought to be the sole preserve of the beaten favourite.
The race was run at a leisurely pace with Bullion Express and If I Could (NZ) leading with the rest of the seven horse field strung out behind. The Mark Kavanagh trained Super Cool and Michael Rodd were third and It’s A Dundeel and James McDonald last of all. The order stayed the same as they went down the back straight.
Eventually McDonald decided with 800m to run that it was time to move with It’s A Dundeel and he went wide and set off after the leaders.
Coming off the turn It’s A Dundeel was five wide and Super Cool was three wide and with a 1 1/2L advantage. It’s A Dundeel moved forward to challenge, but then Super Cool kept his lead. It’s A Dundeel (High Chaparral) ducked in under the pressure and he could not make any impression on the leader.
Super Cool and Rodd went to the line without further challenge and the winning margin was 1 3/4L. It’s A Dundeel was a further 1 3/4L from Viking Star (Red Ransom) and Clare Lindop. Bullion Express was fourth and Nisos fifth.
The time was 1.08.25 on the Dead 4 track with the final 600m in 35.45. Super Cool paid $7.50.
Super Cool and Michael Rodd with It's A Dundeel (yellow) and Viking Star (white) behind, picture Quentin Lang, quentinjlang.com
Kavanagh was asked if the stable thought they could beat the previously unbeaten It’s A Dundeel.
“Well actually I thought I could because we’ve noticed he had to straighten before he really sprinted home and Michael (Rodd) thought we’d nick off a little quicker and leave him a bit flat footed on the bend,” he said.
“The Derby has always been on the agenda after his first start and he has taken a bit of tweaking, he got blocked in on the rails a couple of times but he is peaking at the right time.
“He is pretty big and pretty gross so he can only improve.
“Tony Torcasio and the Rokk Ebony boys jumped on board when I first came to Melbourne and they’re starting to reap the rewards now,” he said.
“He is a horse that does settle back in his races but that is over shorter distances and he is quite good out of the barriers so we just thought our best chance to beat him was to be up on the speed and hoping that they went steady and make it a sprint home and really leave It’s a Dundeel flat footed,” explained Rodd
“That’s the only chink in his armour is that he just doesn’t seem to quicken when he should and he just lags for a couple of hundred metres.”
“It was a small field, my bloke has got an exceptional turn of foot and I think he is a bit underrated as well.”
“About a month ago he’d only won his maiden at Seymour so he’s come a very long way in a short amount of time.”
“This isn’t going to be his preparation, he is a horse that will be better with the experience under his belt but he is up and running and you’ve got to push on.”
“He is a very cruisy customer. On Tuesday we worked him and If I Could together and If I Could actually beat him so he doesn’t do too much and he is very laid back and relaxed.”
“Today would’ve really topped him off nicely for next week,” he said.
Stablemate If I Could was seventh.
“They did not go that hard and he got home pretty well,” said McDonald.
He reported to RV stewards’ that It’s A Dundeel was beaten by a better horse on the day and that his mount had difficulty with the tight turning track and that he would be better on a bigger track.
RV vets also reported that It’s A Dundeel had a slower than normal recovery.
However, It's A Dundeel retains Derby favouritism, while drifting from $2.00 to $2.80, with Betstar Managing Director Alan Eskander maintaining he will improve sharply at Flemington over the 2500m, and that the colt could not be discarded on the result.
“He got a long way back in a slowly run race, and the winner is a nice horse who was simply able to outsprint him over the last 600m. Super Cool has obviously come right into Derby contention and we now have him at $5.50, from $34, and second pick behind the star New Zealand colt,” he said.
Super Cool is a gelding by Fastnet Rock out of the Kingmambo mare Queen Mother and this was his second win from five races. His earnings jumped from $30,550 to $162,550 with the Vase win for owners Rokk Ebony Syndicate managed by TJ Torcasio, Calabria Syndicate, Wind Flyer Racing, Rokk Ebony No 2 Syndicate, Mr A E Fargas, and Mr B C D Holt.