Tough gelding Sonntag has capped off his comeback from a career-threatening injury with a fairytale win in the 2014 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm this afternoon.
Sonntag was sold at the Inglis Tried Horses sale in August of 2013, after previously being owned by Darley, but suffered a tendon sheath infection just after joining the stable of Henry Dwyer and was only a 50/50 chance of ever racing again.
Dwyer patiently nursed Sonntag back to full fitness and the son of Teofilo scored a maiden race win in the Plumbtec Lakes Entrance Maiden (1500m) at Sale on April 17, and the rising trainer opted to throw in a Queensland Derby nomination for the three-year-old, but he admitted after the race that he never believed that the gelding would be good enough to win the Group 1 event.
“I am just wrapped to be here and I am just really pleased to share that with some good friends and great people,” Dwyer said.
“I just said to the owners before he even raced for us that I thought he would say and I just thought that the best case scenario was to have a runner in the Queensland Derby – not thinking it would happen and just trying to pump up the owners a bit, so they didn’t think they had wasted their money.
“It turns out that he has just jumped every obstacle as we have got here and here we are today.
“Hopefully we are starting to build a bit of a profile.”
Jockey Chad Schofield was having his first ride in a race on Sonntag, after Michael Rodd offered to stick with Tony Gollan-trained Amexed, and the rising hoop gave the tough gelding a gem of a ride to score his fourth Group 1 victory.
Schofield elected to get going on Sonntag early and was full of praise for the way that the tough gelding fought off Pinstripe Lane in the final stages of the race.
“We had a lovely run in the race and we were following what I thought to be the hardest to beat in Pinstripe Lane,” Schofield said.
“He did everything for me and I peeled him out quiet early and got him rolling and Pinstripe Lane ran me off the course a bit in the straight, but gee my bloke tried hard.
“He just kept winding up and it was a very brave win.
“The trainer Henry Dwyer was very confident and the horse looked a million dollars in the yard and I wouldn’t have swapped him for anything.
“He looked absolutely perfect and he said he would win and he was right.”
Five percent of the $320,000 in prizemoney won by Sonntag will go to charity Riding For The Disabled Victoria after the ownership group, which includes RSN host Shane Anderson, organised to donate a percent of any winnings to their favourite charity.