Damien Oliver blames the wet track for the defeat of Preferment in the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on Monday.
The first day of ‘The Championships’ was postponed from Saturday after Randwick copped a hammering from the skies over the previous week and the track was still rated a heavy 9 on Monday.
The Chris Waller trained Preferment was sent out the $3.70 favourite for the Australian Derby but was always well back in the field and never threatened in the straight to finish seven and a half lengths eighth to New Zealand Derby winner Mongolian Khan ($6.50).
“He couldn’t get traction and didn’t handle it when they got going at the 600 or 700-metre mark,” Oliver said.
Preferment had drawn the outside of the ten horse Australian Derby field and Oliver snagged the Zabeel colt across behind the rest of the field to settle last in the early stages before sneaking past a couple of runners along the back of the track.
But when the pressure was applied at the top of the straight Preferment was left stranded and struggled to pass a couple in the run to the line.
Preferment showed his class during the 2014 Melbourne Spring Carnival with a win in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington and looked like he was on track for a second Derby win with a close second to Volkstok’N’Barrell at his previous start in the Group 1 $500,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill on March 21.
Mongolian Khan collected his second Derby trophy after beating Volkstok’N’Barrell in the Group 1 NZ$750,000 TV3 NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on February 28 but Cambridge trainer Murray Baker said that he was slightly disappointed with his fifth in the Rosehill Guineas.
“Straight after the New Zealand Derby we sent him out to the spelling farm for five days and then got him back into work on the Thursday afternoon and brought him over here,” Murray said.
“I have to be honest, he was very disappointing in the Rosehill Guineas because I thought he would have kicked on better, but we have swam him and done a few things with him to get him going.”