Australian Import Wins Derby Prelude At Taipa
Australian import Wichita Linesman sealed his place in Macau's SJM Derby field with a thrilling last stride win in Saturday’s 4YO Prelude over 1500 metres at Taipa.
Ridden by Roger Yu, Wichita Linesman caused a major upset when he powered home late wide out to snatch victory from Chok King (Ruan Maia), with Éclair Journey (Andrew Calder) close up in third.
In a great finish to the Group 3 contest there was just over half a length separating the first five horses across the line.
Hostwin Galaxy the $1.7 favorite suffered his first defeat in his six career starts to wind up in fifth place under jockey Martin Wepner, whilst the other top Derby fancy Obrigado Mais (Wayne Smith), turned in a disappointing performance on the yielding track to finish in eighth place, some nine and a half lengths back.
Wichita Linesman had previously won in good fashion in Class 2 & 3 over 1500 metres on February 25, however his time for the race was 0.07 seconds slower than the Class 4 on the night and the gelding was expected to struggle with the rise in class in the Prelude, hence his starting price of $119.00 for the win.
Trainer Danny Wong applied the blinkers to the son of Danehill Express (AUD) and jockey Roger Yu did a fine job from gate 10 to have the gelding one out and one back in the run. Wichita Linesman looked a bit one paced approaching the turn as he was trying to get onto the back of Hostwin Galaxy, and actually lost a couple of lengths as the race tempo increased. However once in the straight he found his stride and finished right over the top of his rivals suggesting that the 1800 metres of the Derby will be right up his alley.
Wichita Linesman arrived in Macau with three wins from his seven starts in Western Australia, one at York and two at Kalgoolie when prepared by Daniel Morton. It’s hardly the kind of form that one would want of a Derby contender. That said the gelding has strengthened up and matured into a nice horse with a pedigree that suggests he will get a strong 1800 metres.
Trainer Peter Leyshan is hopeful that his New Zealand import Kyrstrump can accumulate enough rating points to earn a place in the Derby following his impressive win in the Honorary Racing Stewards Cup over 1500 metres on Saturday.
Krystrump left his opposition standing over the final two hundred metres to dash away for an impressive victory over Peace Get Fortune (Breinell Yamzon) with race favorite Macau Moonlight (Ryan Curatolo) running home solidly for third.
“That was a good win but I need to win another one at least to earn a Derby start.”
“There is a similar type of race in a fortnight and we are hopeful that he can win that then we might be a chance of a Derby run.” Leyshan said.
“On times he was a bit slower than the Prelude but he is not at his peak yet and he will run 1800 of the Derby on his ear.”
Third placed Macau Moonlight looks a great Derby type the way that he has finished off his races over the 1500 metres course in his past two runs, but will need to win one or perhaps two races to make the grade.
A son of Encosta De Lago, Macau Moonlight was storming home behind Wichita Linesman a fortnight back and was only beaten one and a half lengths. Again on Saturday the gelding came from last on the turn and was running on strongly wide out and did not look at times happy in the run on the shifty track.
Joe Lau produced a smart one on Friday nights sand program with the Smart Missile (AUD) gelding Sacred Missile who simply destroyed his rivals in the 25 to 45 Handicap over 1350 metres.
Ridden by Peter Ho, Sacred Missile fell out of the gates and was a conspicuous last on settling. The three year old worked a bit in the run to make some steady ground albeit deep, before charging away in the straight for an easy victory.
Sacred Missile is out of Hula Here making him a half brother to Joe Lau’s former top sprinter Sacred Hustler, a winner of seven races in Macau including the Group 1 Chairman’s Challenge Cup.
Joe Lau and Peter Ho had combined earlier in the night to win with Cool Brother in the Class 6 over 1050 metres.
Peter Ho for the third week straight took riding honors as he pulls back the margin on four times Macau Champion Luis Corrales.
Later in the evening Peter Ho made it three for the night with Advance Mission in the Class 1 & 2 over 1350 metres for trainer Louis Ho.
Paulson from the Patrick Lee stable rounded off Peter Ho’s weekend with a good win in the SJM Charity Trophy over 1800 metres on the turf Saturday.
After the weekend Ho is on 26 winners just four in arrears of Corrales who leads on 30 victories. Wayne Smith who has been in brilliant form of late kicked home a double on the weekend to take him to third place on 18 winners.
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