Flemington trainer Mike Moroney will be aiming at a third Victoria Derby with Sabrage after it won the Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield today.
The son of Charge Forward and Galroof, originally thought of as a Caulfield Guineas candidate, has developed staying tendencies as the spring has progressed.
Damien Oliver settled Sabrage just behind the pace set by Bashan, who was ridden by Michael Rodd, set a steady speed.
The race warmed up when New Zealand apprentice James McDonald circled the field on Sangster before the turn and opened a break.
Race favourite Niagara, after settling perfectly behind the leader, was suddenly locked away with nowhere to go.
Oliver set Sabrage after Sangster and nabbed him close to the line and winning by a head with Niagara a length and three quarter away third.
Niagara did a great job over the final 300m and ran home strongly but the bird had flown.
Moroney won the 1997 Victoria Derby with Second Coming and the 2009 version with Monaco Consul.
The ex-Kiwi trainer says the Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley where Sabrage finished third to Chase The Rainbow was a mind changer.
“We thought he (Sabrage) was a Caulfield Guineas horse but the Stock Stakes changed our mind, we thought it would have sharpened him up but he was under pressure,” Moroney said.
“We thought he was a Derby horse after that.”
“He has always been a big action horse and Damien (Oliver) said he would be more of a stayer even before the Stock Stakes.”
“But being by Charged Forward (sprinting lines) we thought he might struggle.”
“He is a bit more like Second Coming, he is a pretty tough colt, whereas Monaco Consul we had to nurse through.”
Sabrage has staying on its dam side with Galroof having finished runner up in the 2002 Queensland Derby (2400m) behind County Tyrone.