Champion jockey Damien Oliver won his sixth Group 1 $2m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington today when he punched home Warning for a clear victory.
Oliver showed his true championship qualities when he gave Warning the perfect run in behind the leaders and then gave the rest of the field something to catch in the early stages of the long Flemington straight.
But Oliver had nothing to worry about as the Anthony Freedman trained Warning ($9.50) handled the wet conditions to a tee and scooted away to record a dominant three and a quarter lengths win.
Runner up Southern Moon ($21) tried hard in the straight and fought his way past Soul Patch ($3.60) who held on for third.
The Mark Newnham trained Shadow Hero was sent out as the $3 favourite for the Victoria Derby and after settling in the second half of the field, struggled to make up any ground in the run home and wound up in fifth position, ten lengths from the winner.
“He began so well and he got there pretty quickly,” Oliver said.
“He was a little keen early but lobbed into the one one and had a little rest.”
“I got there a bit soon but I just wanted to let him build his momentum. I knew I had such an economical run and I had a lot of confidence in him that her could stay well and he was just really strong.”
Oliver was brought from Perth to Melbourne by the Freedman Brothers twenty odd years again and Anthony Freedman was happy that Oliver could ride his first Victoria Derby winner in his own right.
“We go back twenty-five years. I actually went to Perth to meet him and talk about coming over which he remembers and he is always at him to give him more rides,” Freedman said.
“We go back a long way and it is good to get back together.”
“It is always a great thrill to win a race on Derby Day.”