| Interesting AAMI Derby Facts|
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This Saturday’s AAMI Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield should provide a significant pointer to the AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) on November 1. In the past eight years, three horses have completed the double, while two placegetters have scored AAMI Derby victories.
The Peter Moody-trained Amalfi won the AAMI Norman Robinson-AAMI Derby double in 2001, as did Peter Hayes’ Blackfriars in 1999 and Gai Waterhouse’s Nothin’ Leica Dane in 1995. Other dual winners have been Omnicorp, prepared by Bart Cummings, in 1987 and the Colin Hayes-trained Unaware in 1976.
Placegetters to win the AAMI Derby include Hit The Roof (2000), Arena (1998), Star Of The Realm (1991), Fire Oak (1990), Raveneaux (1986) and Bounty Hawk (1983).
AAMI Norman Robinson winners to be placed in the AAMI Derby include Lawyer (1998), Born To Be Queen (1985), Jury (1977), Romantic Archer (1975) and Pyramul (1974).
Last year’s AAMI Norman Robinson runner-up Hydrometer and third-placed Ain’t Here filled the same placings in the AAMI Derby behind Helenus, while others to be placed in both races have been Tie The Knot (1997), Ebony Grosve (1996), Waikikamukau (1993), Clovelly Bay (1984) and Salamander (1976). Last year’s winner Platinum Scissors was scratched on the Thursday before the AAMI Derby.
The AAMI Norman Robinson Stakes was previously the Wallace Handicap (1971-78).
Rare Dulcify-AAMI Derby victories
The Tale of the Cat (USA) colt, Al Jameel, winner of this year’s 2000m Dulcify Quality Listed Race at Randwick, has history against his chances of winning the AAMI Victoria Derby.
Only the Gai Waterhouse-trained Nothin’ Leica Dane has completed the double, although the Dulcify has proved a form pointer to the Flemington feature.
The New Zealand-bred Al Jameel, trained by Graeme Rogerson, won the Dulcify on September 29, beating L’Espion and the Gerald Ryan prepared AAMI Derby candidate Superior Sateen.
The 2000 Dulcify winner Falls The Shadow was third in the AAMI Derby, while other winners to have been placed are Tie The Knot (2nd, 1997) and Danewin (2nd, 1994).
The 1990 AAMI Derby winner, Fire Oak, was placed in the Dulcify, as were AAMI Derby placegetters Lawyer (1998), Ebony Grosve (1996), All Ashore (1987) and Born To Be Queen (1985).
Trainers have mixed luck
Flemington trainer Leon Corstens emerged from the shadow of his former boss Bart Cummings to claim his maiden AAMI Victoria Derby trophy with the wonder colt, Helenus, last year.
However, a lengthy suspension recently has cost Corstens any chance of back-to-back successes, last achieved by Cummings himself in 1972-73 with Dayana and Taj Rossi, respectively.
At the time of nominations, Corstens had six horses entered for the 2003 AAMI Derby, but following his suspension the horses were relocated and only four remained in contention when first acceptances were taken on September 23.
Corstens’ ill fortune has become the gain of Caulfield trainer Ross McDonald, who now prepares the AAMI Derby hopes No Soup For You, Rev Em Up, Semiloco and Storm Sauvage.
Following the Geelong meeting on June 26, Corstens was suspended for three months and can resume training from December 7.
Gleaning the Gloaming results
The Group 2 Gloaming Stakes (SW, 1800m) at Rosehill is another event that has had a bearing on AAMI Victoria Derby finishes.
Dual victories have been recorded by Arena (1998), Handy Proverb (1985) and Grosvenor (1982), while the 1989 Gloaming third placegetter Stylish Century won the AAMI Derby. Gloaming winners to be placed in the AAMI Derby are Tie The Knot (1997), Lord Revenir (1990), Drought (1986) and Kingston Town (1979). Those to be placed in both races are Lawyer (1998), Danewin (1994), Veloso and Coassack Prince (both 1982).
The Jack Denham-trained Tsuimai won this year’s Gloaming on September 20, but has not been listed among the AAMI Derby entrants. However, runner-up Terracotta Bay, prepared by Gai Waterhouse, is a contender.
In 1992, a maiden, Redding, provided today’s champion jockey Damien Oliver with his first AAMI Victoria Derby success. Two years earlier, the Gordon Yorke-prepared Fire Oak became the first maiden winner since Martini-Henri in 1888.
Six of the best
Lindsay Park Racing Stables has provided six AAMI Derby winners, all trained by members of South Australia’s most famous racing family. The late Colin Hayes, who established the Barossa Valley property, started the winning run with Haymaker (1974), Unaware (1976), Dulcify (1978) and King’s High (1988). Youngest son David, now training in Hong Kong, prepared Blevic in 1994, while his late elder brother Peter was successful in 1999 with Blackfriars.
The training at Lindsay Park is now in the hands of last season’s premiership trainer, Tony McEvoy, with assistance at Melbourne’s Flemington stables by Gary Fennessy. The stable’s 2003 AAMI Derby first acceptors are Keep The Faith and Zabexpress.
Sharing the honours
Since Bart Cummings equalled Tommy Smith’s modern day training feat of five AAMI Derby winners in 1987 with Omnicorp, the training honours have been shared by 14 individual trainers.
In that time, only Lee Freedman has had dual victories - in 1993 with Mahogany and in 1996 with Portland Player.
The other winning trainers have been Colin Hayes (1988, King’s High), Bill Mitchell (1989, Stylish Century), Gordon Yorke (1990, Fire Oak), John Meagher (1991, Star Of The Realm), Gavin Kelly (1992, Redding), David Hayes (1994, Blevic), Gai Waterhouse (1995, Nothin’ Leica Dane), Michael Moroney (1997, Second Coming), John Hawkes (1998, Arena), Peter Hayes (1999, Blackfriars), David Hall (2000, Hit The Roof), Peter Moody (2001, Amalfi) and Leon Corstens (2002, Helenus).
Of these, six trainers have horses nominated for the 2003 AAMI Derby - Cummings, Mitchell, Freedman, Waterhouse, Moroney and Hawkes.
Trainer James Scobie won the AAMI Victoria Derby a record eight times - Maltster (1900), Hautvilliers (1901), FJA (1903), Sylvanite (1904), Alawa (1908), Wolawa (1912), Trivalve (1927) and Hua (1937).
The nearest modern-day challenger is Bart Cummings, whose five victories are equal with the late Tommy Smith. Cummings trained Dayana (1972), Taj Rossi (1973), Stormy Rex (1977), Bounty Hawk (1983) and Omnicorp (1987) to AAMI Derby successes.