Mornington trainer Matt Laurie celebrates his first Group 1 win with Escado taking out the $500,000 Centrebet South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville.
Winning jockey and close friend Ben Melham saved a mountain of ground and never left the fence after jumping from barrier one and after hitting the lead in the straight was able to hold off the fast finishing Hioctdane who didn’t have any favours from the outside gate.
While Melham was giving his three year old a cosy run, Hioctdane was out the back with Paul Gatt nearly pulling off another great ride by weaving his way through the field.
Gatt had the same problem last start when Hioctdane drew a wide gate and had to come from a long way back to win the Group 3 $115,000 Chairman’s Veolia Stakes (2000m) at Morphettville last week.
Despite Escado getting beaten over 2000m on the Geelong synthetic track last start, the Casino Prince gelding had plenty of support in the betting ring and was backed in from $21 to start at $14 and was able to win by a comfortable one and three quarter lengths.
Laurie was lost for words after the win and admitted that he didn’t expect the result he got.
“I didn’t think the horse was going quite as well as he was leading into the Melbourne Derby. No words to describe it,” Laurie said.
Laurie said that the addition of the blinkers could have been a factor in the huge turnaround in form and also praised the ride of Melham.
“Ben was just sitting patiently a long way out, needed a bit of room. Put the blinkers on today hoping to get a bit more sharpness. He hadn’t showed that for a little while, fantastic,” Laurie said.
“He is in great form, great jockey, great mate. Just pleased that we’ve been able to do it as a combination,” Laurie said referring to Melham.
Shoreham was sent out the $4 favourite and ran home strongly from back in the field to finish a creditable third.