Despite resembling a construction site in some areas, Randwick welcomed a decent crowd to the David Jones Australian Derby Day on Saturday. First up was the aptly named $125 000, Group 3 Matrium Financial Services Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) for two-year-olds.
The unbeaten Ichihara started as a short priced favourite ($1.30) on TAB Sportsbet, but after missing the start it was left to the Gerald Ryan trained Dances On Stars (NZ) and Glyn Schofield to show the way home with a comfortable rails run.
Gold Bender was the early leader one off the fence, with Dances On Stars back in second on the rails and Agueda completing the threesome on the outside. At the 600m mark, Gold Bender cried enough and the first timer Oh Barbie took up the lead, with Schofield content to sit slightly back in second.
With 300m left of the home straight, Schofield asked the question of Dances On Stars and with 250m to go it was race over. Corey Brown had moved up to the leaders on Ichihara, but the filly decline to take the narrow gap on the rail. Brown was forced to swing the filly wide to avoid the heels of Dances On Stars and Agueda, and the move put paid to any chances that the filly might have had of getting up for second.
Dances With Stars easily heads Aqueda, picture Sportpix.com.au
Dances On Stars ran the final 600m in a time of 34.83, with a winning time of 1.03.87. Agueda finished a neck back in second, with Ichihara a futher 1.25L back in third.
“When Ichihara missed the start it made me a lot more confident the horse has done well, he has come back really good, we gave him that extra time with intentions of running today and then going to Queensland with him, because he is owned in Queensland”, Ryan commented
“He is a nice horse, he is no star but he was a fresh horse on the scene today, fresh legs on him and the others had been going around a bit. He is a lot smarter this time in.”
“He done a lot wrong as a spring two-year-old colt and we threatened to geld him, but we didn’t want to do that as there is not a lot of him just yet.”
“Nice little horse, went well today,” Ryan summed it up.
“I was quite happy to see that Ichihara missed the start as that meant that he was bottled up and wasn’t using his asset which is his speed. From barrier one I didn’t really want to lead, because I was presuming Corey would.” Schofield explained.
“When he missed the kick I was quite happy to hold everybody up and just make sure that I was there, ready to pounce.”
“I did not want that horse of Nathan Berry’s, the first starter to cross me, so I had to use my horse a little bit. He raced green, he has got a bit to learn but it was a tough win, Schofield said.
By Snitzel out of the Last Tycoon mare, Starnet, Dances On Stars opened his victory tally with a Group 3 for owners B P Mullins,Ms D R Keegan, P R Gleniter and Mrs P A Glenister taking his earnings to $91 500.
Dances On Stars is the seventh stakeswinner for the young Arrowfield sire Snitzel and his fourth this season, and second for the Sydney Carnival after Flying Snitzel’s win last week.