He wasn’t the most fashionable horse nor did he have the most traditional lead up, but going into the ATC Derby at Randwick co-trainer Ciaron Maher knew Explosive Jack would raise eyebrows.
And the three-year-old didn’t let him down as he powered over the top of his rivals to show superior staying ability and win in a photo finish from Tulloch Stakes winner Young Werther.
“Normally people want the sharper horses around here,” Maher said.
“We got him from New Zealand and he was reasonable money for a Jakkalberry who is probably not everyone’s cup of tea but he’s a strong stayer.”
When asked at what point did Maher become confident of winning the Derby as his horse came from near last on the home turn he said: “Before the race started”.
“He gives his all. We gave him a gallop down at Werribee last Saturday and I wanted that to be his best piece of work so we could then bring him in nice and fresh,” Maher said.
“Johnny got off him and looked at me and said ‘that might have been the best bit of work that horse has done’ and it certainly looked like it to me.
“We knew he was well and everything worked out and he’s just improved from the time he won his first start.”
Explosive Jack has won the Australian Derby 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/pmnlbyXbYh
The ride of John Allen was hair-raising but the right one to give his horse a chance of coming over the top of them late.
He settled Explosive Jack near last in the running before starting to niggle at him from the 1000m and get him going.
It looked like Randwick Guineas winner Lion’s Roar was the threat when he sprinted better but Explosive Jack’s staying ability was the different late.
Allen rode him confidently knowing his horse would produce the goods when the other were getting a stitch over the final 100m.
“He is a tough horse, the distance was never going to be a worry with him,” Allen said.
“We got cover on the back of Young Werther. Montefilia actually popped out down the side and pushed me out a bit wide. I didn’t want to take off on him too early so I let her come around me.
“Once we got to the outside, he really let down and he tries his guts out this horse.”
Connections of Explosive Jack are ecstatic after winning the Australian Derby. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Explosive Jack’s owners went crazy after the race, jumping around all over each other, even though the photo finish hadn’t been produced.
Allen wasn’t as confident as his big gang.
“I thought I did (win) but I didn’t want to celebrate just in case I didn’t,” he said.
“With the horse in between us it was hard to tell. I thought I had my head down on the line. It was close but we got there.”
It’s been a remarkable journey for Explosive Jack, who wasn’t good enough to win a Class 1 at Goulburn in December before winning at Kembla Grange then taking out the Tasmanian Derby.
“We’ve moved him around. John Allen thought he’d be a good Tasmanian Derby horse and then he was in Victoria and we came up here to target this,” Maher said.
“It was a 10 out of 10 ride from Johnny and it was just his knowledge of the horse.”
“He’s been in every stable all up the east coast for us and he’s just a fantastic horse. The owners like to travel.”
Chairman’s Quality: Quick timing Sydney Cup run
– Ray Thomas
Quick Thinker showed he is right back in the Sydney Cup mix with a return to winning form at Randwick.
The Group 2 $300,000 Chairman’s Quality (2600m) became a survival of the fittest in the Slow 7 conditions with Quick Thinker winning his first race since taking out the ATC Australian Derby at this meeting 12 months ago.
The resolute Quick Thinker took 2min 45.45sec to complete the trip – nearly five seconds outside the course record – while the field was spread right out with last placegetter Collide officially 128 lengths behind the winner.
Collide and Concert Hall (beaten 70 lengths) were eased out of the race when both were well beaten before the home turn.
But Sir Charlies Road and Dadoozdart, who finished together in 10th and 11th position respectively, were more than 30 lengths from the winner.
Andrew Forsman, who trains in partnership with Murray Baker, said Quick Thinker appreciated getting back onto a soft track.
“The track was quite testing and they were under the pump a fair way out there but he was still travelling quite well,’’ Forsman said.
“He probably got left in front too far from home there but definitely the track conditions (Soft 7) have played into his hands.”
Quick Thinker (inside) won the Chairman’s Quality in a test of toughness. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Quick Thinker ($15) held off the late surge of a very brave Rondinella ($8) to win by a head while they put six lengths on their nearest rival with Paths Of Glory ($8.50) finishing third.
Early leader and race favourite Sacramento ($5.50) was under pressure from the 600m and finished sixth, beaten nearly 10 lengths.
TAB Fixed Odds price assessors immediately firmed Quick Thinker from $34 to $15 for the Group 1 $2 million Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick next Saturday.
Quick Thinker could become the fifth to complete the Chairman’s Quality-Sydney Cup double this century after The Offer (2014), Jessicabeel (2010), No Wine No Song (2008) and Henderson Bay (2002).
Originally published asJack explodes for rare Derby double as favourites bomb
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