In a thrilling contest it was Pierro’s son Levendi who out bobbed Ace High as the two Gold Coast Yearling Sale graduates cleared away from their rivals. It was almost six lengths back to the distanced third placegetter Tangled.
The drama in the head bobbing finish wasn’t restricted to the track with Tye Angland, rider of the runner-up Ace High, firing in a protest. It was dismissed.
Levendi was sent out one of the better chances in the race after an impressive previous start win in the Group Two Tulloch Stakes when he was doing his best work late under regular rider Mark Zahra.
“He was travelling well,” trainer Peter Gelagotis told reporters. “We got a bit concerned when he peeled out, but he moved into the race real, real good.”
“He was really strong and you could see he was going to let down and be in the finish.”
“But credit to Ace High he fought on strong, it was a great battle and fortunately enough for us we got the job done,” Gelagotis added.
Bred by Robert Anderson, Levendi was offered through the Widden Stud draft at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. It was there Manny Gelagotis found the future Derby hero – and he went to $140,000 to buy him.
He is the second classic winner for former champion racehorse and fellow Gold Coast Yearling Sale graduate Pierro.
A resident of Coolmore Stud, Pierro won a swag of Group One races including the Sydney juvenile triple crown highlighted by a brilliant win in the Golden Slipper. He is already the dam of VRC Oaks winner Pinot and other rising stars including Pierata.
Levendi is from Lipari, a lightly raced and stakes placed daughter of Redoute’s Choice. From limited opportunites on the track, Lipari earned black type with a third placing in the listed Morphettville Guineas.
Lipari, who is a three quarter sister to stakes winner Zamzam, is from the SAJC Australasian Oaks winner Tully Thunder.
Levendi wasn’t the only Magic Millions purchase to star on Day One of the Championships with Paquirri, Houtzen and Victorem all delighting their large ownership groups with feature wins.
Paquirri relished the addition of blinkers to break his maiden status in style with a comprehensive victory in the Group Three Widden Stud Kindergarten Stakes.
A colt by I Am Invincible, from the stakes winning juvenile Miss Solis, Paquirri easily beat home Legend of Condor and Lean Mean Machine in the 1100 metre feature.
Paquirri was bred and sold by Dawson Stud at last year’s Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale for $265,000. The colt was the pick of the sale for his trainer Gary Moore.
Glamour filly Houtzen added another feature win to her impressive record when she showed class and tenacity to win the Group Three PJ Bell Stakes (1200m).
The daughter of I Am Invincible fought strongly to hold out the dead heaters Manicure and Problem Solver in a driving finish.
Houtzen, who won the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic in 2017, sent her earnings past $1.85 million with a stakes win in a third state.
The half million dollar Newhaven Stud Country Championship Final saw a break out win for the untapped I Am Invincible gelding Victorem.
Given a copybook ride from regular rider Ben Looker, Victorem was able to switch off the leaders’ heels in the straight before flying through and winning by two and a half lengths.
Victorem is turning into an incredible money spinner for connections considering he cost his trainer Jenny Graham just $65,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast 2YOs in Training Sale.
The exciting performer was educated and presented by the team from Symphony Lodge before finding a new home in Port Macquarie.
Meanwhile, Group One winning trainer Dan Clarken scored a breakthrough stakes success with his now co-trainer and partner Oopy MacGillivray when outsider Blue Morpho won the listed Laelia Stakes at Morphettville.
One of the main lead up races to the Australasian Oaks, the Laelia Stakes attracted a strong field of fillies from Melbourne, Sydney and even New Zealand, but in the end it was one of the locals who struck.
Blue Morpho, a daughter of Hussonet who was bred and sold by Marana Park Thoroughbreds, sat just behind the leader Pandemonium to the turn before being switched off heels by jockey Jake Toeroek. From there the result was never in doubt as that pair skipped well clear and they held a two and a half length margin on the line.
From the family of Adelaide Cup winner Apache King, Blue Morpho cost MacGillivray just $17,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale at Morphettville.
And the big day for Magic Millions graduates was completed in the west when progressive three-year-old Mizlecki won the listed Raconteur Stakes (1500m) at Ascot.
A graduate of the Yarradale Stud draft at the 2016 Perth Yearling Sale, Mizlecki is raced by Judith Kersley and is trained by her masterful husband Fred.
Mizlecki, a daughter of Lope de Vega, now boasts a record of three wins and two second placings from just eight starts and more black type races beckon for the filly.
Breeding: Pierro-Lipari (Redoute’s Choice)
Race: ATC Australian Derby G1 (2400m)
Sold for: $140,000
Sale: 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
Vendor: Widden Stud (As Agent)
Buyer: Manny Gelagotis
Owner(s): E Gelagotis, BM & W Racing, Grants Racing, B Micalizzi, S Lewin, M Howell, L Howell, L Sticca, L Osman, R Osman, Dr P Stevens, M Answerth, D Barbuto, W Morris, B Carter, Ms K Brown, D Cacciola & M Stevens
Trainer: Peter Gelagotis (Moe)