A long range plan devised by trainer Pat Carey saw Ethiopia take out the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick today.
The lightly raced Ethiopia was only having his fourth race start and was still a maiden going into today’s race but repaid Carey and connections who had plenty of faith in the Helenus three year old.
Winning jockey Rhys McLeod wasn’t perturbed coming up against recent Autumn Carnival winners Laser Hawk and Polish Knight as well as New Zealand Derby victor Silent Achiever and gave then all a start and finished the strongest to score a history making win.
McLeod had to bring Ethiopia to the middle of the track at the top of the rise and while Nash Rawiller on Laser Hawk was revving him up and Dwayne Dunn on Polish Knight was searching for a run through the ruck, McLeod was giving his gelding a clear run to the line.
Ethiopia was able to nab Polish Knight on the line after the Hawkes three year old looked the likely winner while Laser Hawk worked to the line solidly under the hard riding of Rawiller.
Winning trainer Pat Carey has had one race in mind since he put Ethiopia in training and that was be at Randwick on Derby day.
“I love training these staying horses and this is one of the races you really want to win,” Carey said.
“We’ve been thinking about this for a fair while.”
“He could be very special this horse. He’s very raw. If you look at him he’s a big scopy sought of horse, his second dam’s by Zabeel and he’s just a classic stayer in the making.”
Carey hasn’t made any firm Spring plans but is certain he has a very competitive stayer in his stable.
McLeod was confident Ethiopia would run out the 2400m and he was right.
“I first rode him at Caulfield and I thought he goes pretty good this horse, his run at Moonee Valley was sensational and I thought stepping up to a mile and half was probably ideal and today he showed it,” McLeod said.
“He had to mow them down and it was good effort.”
Ethiopia started at $15 with runner up Polish Knight, who was very slow to take up a position after taking a long time to get into his stride, was well backed to start a $8 with the $3.20 favourite Laser Hawk hanging on for third.