A long term plan for Ace High to win the Derby was realised in the most spectacular style when he overcame a wide run to win Victoria’s blue riband by the easiest of two lengths.
It was the second straight Group One victory for the son of High Chaparral after he led throughout in the recent Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.
Winning trainer David Payne said it was a dream come true to win one of the Flemington Carnival’s big features.
“It has always been my dream to win one here,” Payne said. “It has just taken a while, but let’s hope it continues.”
“We ran second in the Derby with Praecido and Criterion drew badly, but I always thought this horse was the right one.”
“We’ve been planning the Derby since he was a two-year-old, not long after we put him into work. It doesn’t usually work out but it has this time.”
Payne took a shine to the youngster at last year’s Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale and he went to $130,000 to secure him from the draft of Bell River Thoroughbreds. Long time friend and client John Cordina was with Payne at the sale and immediately snapped up the colt.
“We looked at his pedigree and I think we were lucky when we bought him at Magic Millions because most buyers are looking for speed there. I think we got him at a good price.”
A good price indeed considering that $130,000 investment has already netted Cordina’s Summertime Thoroughbreds over $1.4 million and already connections are thinking of next year’s Melbourne Cup.
Tye Angland was again aboard Ace High today as he has been for his past four starts – three of them netting wins – all at group level.
“It’s obviously a big thrill,” Angland said after the race. “But I was thinking – I’m in trouble here – when I was around the 1000 or 800 metres. I drew gate three but it was the pace of the race – when you’re in a bunched field like that and they steady up, but then they took off and it fired my horse up.”
“I could not hold him in behind them anymore. I had to count and wait, and let him roll into it and try and hold onto him as long as I can to get the trip.”
“He’s pulled up (that well), he could do it again,” Angland added.
Ace High is one of 106 individual stakes winners for the champion sire High Chaparral – sire of other Australian raced stars So You Think, Shoot Out, Descarado, Tivaci, Fenway and Montoya’s Secret.
He is from the unraced Redoute’s Choice mare Come Sunday, a three quarter sister to Rezyana and half sister to stakes winners Kneeling and That’s a Good Idea.
Come Sunday, who is from a stakes performed daughter of Sunday Silence, sadly only had two more foals – a High Chaparral filly and Hallowed Crown colt – before passing away.
Ace High wasn’t the only Magic Millions graduate to feature on Derby Day with Levendi (Pierro) scoring a deserved win in the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes.
The Gold Coast Yearling Sale purchase for Gelagotis Racing from Widden Stud had no luck at his previous run in the Caulfield Guineas but his class shone through on today’s race.
Connections will see how the colt pulls up but they may miss the upcoming Sandown Guineas and instead send their rising star for a spell with bigger things expected in the autumn.
Meanwhile, crowd favourite Dainty Tess scored a career breakthrough win in the Group Three Prince of Wales Stakes (1000m) at Ascot in Perth later in the day.
Well handled by star local hoop Chris Parnham, Dainty Tess was able to reel in the leaders late in the race to win impressively.
Trainer Danny Morton was delighted the stable star was able to score her 10th win from 26 starts, but importantly win her first stakes race from limited opportunities.
A Perth Yearling Sale graduate in 2015 from Queenslea Park Thoroughbreds, Dainty Tess has now banked over $740,000 for connections.
Winner: Ace High
Breeding: High Chaparral-Come Sunday (Redoute’s Choice)
Race: VRC Victoria Derby G1 (2500m)
Sold for: $130,000
Sale: 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Vendor: Bell River Thoroughbreds
Buyer: Payne Racing
Owner(s): Summertime Thoroughbreds (Mgr: J Cordina)
Trainer: David Payne (Rosehill)