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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Saturday, April 01 2017

New Zealand colt Jon Snow has shown his staying power to win the $2 million Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.

Jon Snow takes victory in the Gr.1 Australian Derby - Bradley Photography

Murray Baker is an old hand when it comes to winning the Australian Derby but for his young training partner Andrew Forsman, Jon Snow's win is a whole new world.

Baker, who has already won the Randwick classic with Nom Du Jeu (2008), It's A Dundeel (2013) and Mongolian Khan (2015), stayed at home in New Zealand this time and let Forsman take the glory after Jon Snow had slugged out a tough win.

Sent out at $7.50, the Iffraaj colt tracked pacemaker Harper's Choice ($26) from the outset, with the latter belying his price to keep running strongly into the straight.

The pair went stride for stride until Jon Snow got the upper hand to score by three-quarters of a length. Hardham ($31) finished another short head in third, with the $2.60 favourite Gingernuts fifth after being unable to make significant ground from well back in the running.

"It's a pleasure to be in partnership with a great trainer," said Forsman, who selected the colt for $65,000 at the Karaka yearling sales. "He's a master and knows how to bring them over here and get the job done

"He knows how to get them fit and ready and I'm just glad we pulled it off."

Jon Snow finished third to Gingernuts in the New Zealand Derby in March, with the former scoring an Australian Group One win in the Rosehill Guineas two weeks ago.


The path for Jon Snow was to run in last week's Tulloch Stakes (2000m), which he won to get him ready for today's 2400 metres.

For his jockey Damian Lane the Derby was his first Group One win in Sydney and one to savour, with his father in the crowd.

"It's a great thrill to win a Derby on such a seasoned horse," the West Australian-born Lane said. "Murray Baker has been a great trainer over many years now and Andrew does a great job as well.

"To be able to have a ride for them and win two good races in two weeks is a privilege and a credit to the horse."

"He switched off outside the leader beautifully and when I switched him back on at the 600 he came up under me nice.

"It was almost a replica of last week. Jason Collet rated the leader beautifully and I was able to sit a length, length-and-a-half off and switch him back on at the 600 and it was all business from there.

The runner-up's trainer, Gerald Ryan, was proud of Harper's Choice, as was his jockey, Jason Collett.

"He had a soft lead with no pressure," Collett said. "He managed to figure in the finish but was just out-toughed by the Kiwi horse."

Baker's son Bjorn is a successful Sydney trainer and had Impavido in the race after playing host to Jon Snow for the past couple of weeks.

"It's a proven formula to send the horses over here to my stable," he said. "It's just a shame my horses can't do as well. Impavido finished 10th."


Posted by: AAP AT 02:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email