Graham Rogerson has capped off a remarkable week by taking out the Group One Queensland Derby with Shootoff.
Shootoff, who was favourite for the race, had to fend off the late charges by fillies Shez Sinsational and Heidilicious to eventually win by half a length.
Shootoff was given a dream ride by Michael Rodd, who eased out at the 1000m mark and made a sustained run down the middle of track.
Shootoff looked to be tiring in the final 100 but Rodd was always confident he could hold out the fillies.
“I’m not sure they would have got passed him because he is a real fighter,” Rodd said.
“He gave me an absolutely lovely ride. I had to nurse him a little bit as we came to the final straight, but he’s a great little horse, with a great turn of foot.”
Shootoff sat midfield throughout the run, and asides from a few nervous moments in the final 100 meters he always looked like he was going to be hard to beat.
Shez Sinsational produced a strong final furlong to finish second while Heidilicious, who looked for a moment like she may win, faded in the shadows of the post to run third.
Heidilicious jumped well and assumed a position just off the back off the leaders. She had missed the kick in each of her last two runs, but seemed to be put at ease by the barrier blanket which she used for the first time in a race. For a moment it seemed as if she may nail Shootoff on the line but she fell just short.
The Derby win is the second Group One victory in a week for Rogerson who also trained Scarlett Lady to a win in the Queensland Oaks. The performance of the fillies underlines the form of Scarlett Lady, who actually opened favourite for the Derby mid-week before Rogerson declared that she would not be entered.
Shootoff jumped as $4.50 favourite, while the fillies were also well supported on the second line of betting.
Shootoff joins legends of the turf Tulloch, Kingston Town and Rough Habit with his winning effort in the 138th running of the Queensland Derby.