Dark Destroyer (NZ) Delivers in Rough Habit

16 May 2022

Dark Destroyer (NZ) wins the Group Three Drinkwise Rough Habit Plate (2143m).

Already a multiple Group winner on home soil this season, classy Kiwi three-year-old Dark Destroyer (NZ) (Proisir) is now making a statement during Brisbane’s Winter Carnival. 

The Karaka graduate scored a tenacious victory in Saturday’s A$250,000 Group Three Drinkwise Rough Habit Plate (2143m) at Eagle Farm, having previously been a fast-finishing second in the Group Two Queensland Guineas (1600m) at the same venue on April 30. Offered at Karaka 2020 with a reserve of only $30,000, he has now earned over $390,000 for owners Archer Equine Investments.

Saturday’s Rough Habit Plate was the first test of stamina for Dark Destroyer, who stepped out beyond 1600 metres for the first time in his career. Torrential rain and testing track conditions added to the challenge, but Dark Destroyer proved that he was well and truly up to the task.

Set alight by jockey Sam Weatherley coming down the side of the track, Dark Destroyer swooped around the field from near the back to stake his claim at the top of the long Eagle Farm straight.

He charged clear with more than 200 metres to run, then dug deep to turn back a fierce late challenge from fellow Karaka graduate Paternal (NZ) (Savabeel) and score by a short neck.

Trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott at Matamata, Dark Destroyer has now had nine starts for four wins and three placings. His earlier domestic campaign featured victories in the Group Two Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m), plus a placing in the Group Two Sarten Memorial (1400m).

“I’m very grateful to the connections for keeping me on – David (Archer) and Diane (Wright), plus Lance and Andrew,” Weatherley said.

“I’ve got a good connection with this horse. He’s the sort of horse that you dream about, and to get one early on in my career that is taking me places, I’m very thrilled.

“He’s a very tough horse. Whatever he’s done today, he’s going to improve. They eased the tempo down the back and he rolled up there himself. I didn’t really want to pull and push him around, but to keep rolling, and we hit the front at the top of the straight and he had a really good look around.

“He had his ears pricked all the way down the straight, so there’s still plenty more improvement.”

O’Sullivan and Scott are now targeting the A$1m Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm’s next meeting on May 28.

“It was a really good tough effort, with the weather being so bad and the track as heavy as it is,” Scott said. “But he was really game and stuck on well.

“We’re so pleased he can stay, because this was his first attempt over a bit of ground. It is encouraging going forward for the next fortnight.

“It was a good staying effort for the reason that he had to sustain a long run. That was encouraging. He’s going the right way and he has come over here and thrived.

“The preparations are going well, so hopefully he’ll be back here in a fortnight and he should run well again.”

Runner-up Paternal was a $280,000 purchase from Book 1 of Karaka 2020 and has had two wins and two placings from only a six-start career to date.

Vendor Highline Thoroughbreds
Breeding Proisir – All Can Party
Sale Lot 979, Karaka 2020 Book 2, Psd (Res $30,000)
Bred by WE Jeffries