Kukeracha lends a hand to the New Zealand races derby
Darley’s QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (G1) stallion Thunderous night broke through for his first group 1 world winner at stud on May 29, when Chris Waller trained Kukeracha prevailed in an epic duel with a stable mate Senor Toba to win the Moet & Chandon Queensland Derby (G1) at Eagle Farm.
The question before the race for the Queensland classic, back after its 2020 cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was whether anything could stop Explosive jack in his unleashed quest for a record-breaking fourth Derby this year, having won the Schweppes Tasmanian Derby, the Australian Bentley Derby (G1) and the South Australian Derby TAB (G1).
Despite a valiant effort from the 3-year-old star coached by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, he only managed to place third, one length behind the winner, when he was sent off from the favorite, while the Kukeracha in Booming beat the rallying gray Senor Toba on his outside, to claim victory by the smallest margin at the post.
It’s yet another big racing success for Neville Morgan’s silks this season, with Kukeracha adding to the group wins for Shaquero and triumph in the Schweppes All Aged Stakes (G1) for Kolding.
The win had a distinct New Zealand flavor, as the Kiwi-born trainer Waller teamed up with main hoop James McDonald to claim success over NZB Karaka Yearling Sale graduate of NZ $ 130,000 (88,920 $), which was brought to you by Waikato Stud and bred by their veterinarian, Dr Chris Phillips.
The result means every Australian Derby this season has gone to a New Zealand bred horse with Kukeracha triumphing in Queensland and the three Explosive Jack Derbies added by owner Bob Peters. Western Empire in Western Australia and at Denis Pagan Johnny gets angry in the AAMI Victoria Derby (G1).
For Waller, it was his second victory in the race, his first coming in 2013 with the triumph of Hawkspur and, on this occasion, it was the domination of the champion coach, who saddled the first two at home, as well as the fourth Succeed.
“When I saw Explosive Jack kicking, I thought we were going to run a nice second or third,” Waller said. “We had a good opinion of him at 2 years old, but he got lost a bit. He was neutered and went through the system.”
Kukeracha, now the winner of three of his 13 starts and AU $ 583,245 in prize money, came into the race after a second place finish. Criminal defense in the Canadian Club Rough Habit Plate (G3). A winner at Geelong in his early days, his second success would only come on Boxing Day last year when he was taken to Eagle Farm.
“He had a good race here in the Grand Prix this summer,” Waller continued. “I wanted to give him some experience on the track because he wasn’t doing very well at the time.
“I think it was a good decision because his run in Queensland Guineas (G2) was good, his last start in Rough Habit was good, and today he was brilliant.”
Meanwhile, McDonald’s was rewarded for heading north for the Queensland carnival rides at the risk of losing his Sydney jockey title to Tommy Berry, who picked up another winner at Randwick on Saturday to leave the margin at 13.
However, after the race, the leading hoop admitted that, if given a choice, he would have teamed up with second Senor Toba.
“Chris (Waller) makes the decisions, and I was lucky to be on the right horse today. They say jockeys are the worst decision makers, so I’m glad I didn’t have that choice,” McDonald said.
Kukeracha is one of 58 live foals from Night of Thunder’s one and only Southern Hemisphere production, a production that brought in five Stakes winners plus another Stakes Placegetter, with Saturday’s Derby hero being the first winner. of group 1 in the world for the stallion Darley.
Descended from Portrait of a Lady (AP Indy), Kukeracha descends from Irish 3-year-old champion, Kildanjan Stud Irish Oaks (G1) winner Alydaress, a sister of Park Appeal, dam of Cape Cross, as well as Flames of Paris , the dam of the winner of the Ubet BTC Cup (G1) Hot gistzel.
Portrait of a Lady was purchased by Phillips for AU $ 40,000 ($ 29,724) full of the Night of Thunder colt who would be called Kukeracha. He is one of nine named foals of the mare, who has a one-year-old foal by Sacred falls and a filly weaned by Oceanic park, a stallion she returned to last year.
Vega is that of Kingsford-Smith
The second feature of Group 1 on the Eagle Farm map, the TAB Kingsford-Smith Cup (G1), also followed in the path of a former Northern Hemisphere-based shuttle stallion who wielded great influence in Australia.
As Night of Thunder kicked off with its first elite-level winner, Ballylinch Stud’s Lope de Vega scored his fourth Australian Group 1 winner and 13th in the world, as Vega One fell from the clouds leading home a quinella workout performance again, this time for local manager Tony Gollan.
This extraordinary race earned Kah a sixth Group 1 success, leaving her alone as Australia’s most winning Group 1 rider, breaking Michelle Payne’s record of five.
Gollan was impressed with the result on his home track, a fifth Group 1 success for the coach, and reflected on the challenge of getting the 5-year-old to the race in the first place, with Vega One having suffered several setbacks. since his he finished fourth in the TAB Stradbroke Handicap (G1) a year ago, with his place in Saturday’s race under a cloud even this week.
“I am so proud of these horses,” said Gollan. “This horse suffered a major injury last year after the Stradbroke, and he spent a lot of time (off). They re-educated him really well over there in Victoria. He came back, and it was a mission. in the long run the Stradbroke with him.
“It’s not improving, I’m telling you, it’s great.
“I didn’t know where to look. I saw Jonker try to hang on and I saw him (Vega One) behind a wall of horses and all of a sudden he was gone. It’s unreal. A- two in a group 1 at home… that’s fantastic.
“We had a hot time with him this preparation with a few minor issues. I was really happy with his job Tuesday morning, but we were just about to see if we were even going to be here this week.
“It’s so rewarding today. Jamie Kah doesn’t ride here very often, but damn it, I wish she’d come back here a little more often.”
Lope de Vega covered four pounds of mares at Patinack Farm in Victoria between 2011-14, with Vega One of the latest generation of 102 live foals.
The double-winning group 1 stallion sired the winner of the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (G1) Gytrash, as good as Magic of Vega and five times winner of group 1 Alley of Santa Ana at the elite level in Australia.
While the first son of Lope de Vega Belardo has been commuting to Haunui Farm in New Zealand since 2017, her 2-year-old son Group 1 winner and recent third setter from Two Thousand Guineas, owned by Yulong Lucky Vega , will begin his breeding duties at the Victorian Farm from this season, and the stallion himself remains available for breeding until Southern Hemisphere time in Ireland.
Vega One, now the winner of six races out of 25 starts and nearly A $ 1.5 million in cash prizes, is One Funny Honey’s second stakes winner (Distorted humor ), which was purchased by Emirates Park while full of Lope de Vega for AU $ 40,000 ($ 43,830) during the Patinack Farm Scatter Sale in 2014.
His first named foal, One more honey, won the Vale Edgar Britt Oam Sweet Embrace Stakes (G2) 2017, while his foal born in 2018 by Snitzel brought in AU $ 800,000 ($ 548,672) in the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.