Dark Destroyer (NZ) Shines in Guineas
2 January 2022
Saturday’s $120,000 Group Two Skycity Auckland Guineas (1600m) at Ellerslie produced a trifecta for horses offered at New Zealand Bloodstock sales in 2020, with rising star three-year-old Dark Destroyer (NZ) (Proisir) heading the charge.
Falling short of his $30,000 reserve when consigned by Highline Thoroughbreds in Book 2 of Karaka 2020, the gelding has now had six starts for three wins, two placings and $150,950 in stakes – more than five times his reserve.
A last-start winner of the Group Three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) in the wet ground at Matamata, Dark Destroyer faced very different track conditions on New Year’s Day and a significantly stronger field – including the multiple Australian stakes winner Tutukaka (NZ) (Tavistock) and his Group One-placed stablemate Field Of Gold (Starspangledbanner). But Dark Destroyer was up to the challenge.
Field Of Gold led throughout the race and stole a march on his rivals around the home turn, opening up a big break with a powerful kick at the top of the home straight.
Dark Destroyer had moved up into second place with just over 100 metres to run, still with a ton of work to do and with time quickly running out. But he lengthened stride with power and purpose and moved up alongside Field Of Gold, grabbing him in the shadows of the post to score by a long head.
“That was a big win,” jockey Sam Weatherley said. “I’m really grateful to David (Archer) and Diane (Wright, owners) for keeping me on this horse. He’s a pretty good galloper, and I’m over the moon with that.
“He wants to go even further than this – I couldn’t pull him up after the race and almost had to go up the Ellerslie hill to get him to stop, so it’s exciting.”
Trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, Dark Destroyer is now the early favourite for the $1m Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 5.
His rise to stardom has been a timely one for Archer and Wright, who retired their Group One performers Bostonian (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) and Charles Road (Myboycharlie) during 2021.
“This is a big thrill today and our hearts are pumping,” David Archer said. “It’s been quite a long time between drinks for us, but this is a brave little horse who’s very tough, very talented and really progressing well. Our Derby dream is alive.
“We’re actually quite lucky to own him. He was passed in at Karaka as a yearling, and I asked Paul Moroney which of the passed in lots he liked the best. He gave me a list of five to have a look at, and Dark Destroyer was one of those.”
Runner-up Field Of Gold was also passed in at Karaka 2020, failing to meet his $100,000 reserve. The Tony Pike-trained chestnut has had seven starts for two wins, four placings and $113,412 in stakes to date.
Third-placed Mr Jay Eight (NZ) (Per Incanto) was passed in with a reserve of $25,000. He has had three starts for a win and two placings, banking $19,110.
|Breeding||Proisir – All Can Party|
|Sale||Lot 979, Karaka 2020 Book 2, Psd (Res $30,000)|
|Bred by||WE Jeffries Ltd|