Eagle Way was too strong for his rivals in the final stages of the 2016 Queensland Derby to deliver leading Hong Kong trainer John Moore his first Group 1 win in Australia as an owner.
Eagle Way was settled just worse than midfield by jockey Tommy Berry in the early stages of the Queensland Derby, while there was plenty of speed up front as the likes of Etymology challenged Mackintosh for the lead.
The field fell away fairly quickly in the straight and Eagle Way took up the running a long way from home, but he was able to hold-off the late challenge from both I’m Belluci and Rodrigo to claim the biggest win of his racing career in what is likely to be his final race start in Australia before he heads to Hong Kong.
Berry flew in from Japan to partner Eagle Way for John Moore and trainer Bryan Guy and he said that he was delighted to win the Queensland Derby wearing colours that he has already had plenty of success in in Hong Kong.
“It is great to be home,” Berry said.
“I am riding for some familiar connections in John Moore and my Dad used to rid for Bryan Guy, so we have a great connection there as well.
“It feels like I have been with these guys for a while and this bloke has had the perfect lead-up runs.
“I have to say a big congratulations to Paul Hammersley and I am really feeling for him because I know that he has done all the work on the horse.
“He is just an out and out stayer.
“He hit the line at right time last start, but today I got to the front a lot earlier than I wanted to but I got a lot of pressure outside from a runner that was trying to put me in a pocket, so I had to go when I did.
“To his credit he got there and looked around, but he was strong to the line late.
“I don’t like saying this very often, but I rode him in his first ever start and I rang John Moore to tell him that he isn’t much good.
“It is a little while later, but he just took a little bit of time for the penny to drop and I only rode him over 1300.
“I am just so happy to be home and so happy to be back in action.”
Rodrico made up plenty of ground late with Joao Moreira in the saddle to finish a gallant second, while I’m Belucci loomed as the winner at the 100 metre mark before he died on his run late.