Jon Snow has produced a second outstanding staying effort in as many weeks to take out the 2017 Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
A third placegetter in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) early last month, Jon Snow crossed the Tasman for a smart win in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) last weekend and remained prominent in betting for this afternoon’s feature race despite drawing wide into the field.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Damian Lane allowed the Iffraaj gelding to stride forward and immediately take up the running in the Australian Derby; setting an honest tempo alongside the Harper’s Choice.
Settling into a good rhythm across the back straight, the lead pack were joined by Impavido approaching the final turn as jockey Joao Moreira elected to increase the tempo and string the field out heading into the final straight.
Staying true along the rails, Jon Snow and Harper’s Choice pulled clear of their rivals and locked in a fierce sprint battle, but it was the talented Kiwi raider who shot ahead in the final 150m to post a maiden career Group 1 win; Hardham running on for a close third.
Co-trainer Andrew Forsman made the trip to Sydney for Jon Snow’s run in the Australian Derby and was thrilled with the horse’s ability to produce his best at the end of a long and busy racing preparation.
“It’s a big thrill and we’re just thrilled,” Forsman said.
“It’s been a great ride with this horse. We purchased him for the owners and its been quite a journey.
“Murray’s record in this race is second-to-none, he knows how to get them fit and ready and just glad we’ve pulled it off.
“He won so well and just bounced through the run so well last week, and his work on Thursday morning was brilliant and he pulled up well.
“Everything has just gone so well since he got over here and everyone’s done a great job looking after him.
“I’m just proud to be involved with the whole crew.”
In saddling Jon Snow to success this afternoon, co-trainer Murray Baker has now posted four wins in the Australian Derby with Nom Du Jeu (2008), It’s A Dundeel (2013) and Mongolian Khan (2015) also saluting in the race through the last decade.