Pinarello (NZ) Reigns Supreme in Karaka’s Queensland Derby First Five

30 May 2022

Pinarello (NZ) storms home to win the A$1m Group One Moet & Chandon Queensland Derby (2400m).

A sensational coming-of-age performance by Pinarello (NZ) (Tavistock) headlined a Karaka clean sweep of Saturday’s A$1m Group One Moet & Chandon Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm. 

Offered at Karaka 2020 with a $300,000 reserve, Pinarello has now had seven starts for four wins, two placings and more than A$720,000 in stakes. Runner-up Paternal (NZ) (Savabeel) has recouped his $280,000 purchase price with prizemoney of A$271,930, while third-placed Caboche (NZ) (Vadamos) cost $180,000 and has earned A$231,025. Dark Destroyer (NZ) (Proisir) and Southern Stock (NZ) (Tavistock) rounded out a remarkable all-Karaka first five.

Pinarello had already proven himself as one of New Zealand’s better three-year-olds, winning three races headed by a brilliant last-start romp in the Group Two Championship Stakes (2100m) at Pukekohe in April. He also finished an unlucky fifth in the Group One New Zealand Derby (2400m) in early March. But it was in Queensland’s most prestigious three-year-old race at Eagle Farm on Saturday afternoon that he truly lived up to the esteem that trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood have always had for the Tavistock gelding.

In what turned out to be the final career ride for leading Kiwi jockey Leith Innes, Pinarello had to jump from a nightmare gate of 17. But Innes gave him a dream run, slotting across to sit one off the rail and settling into a smooth rhythm.

Pinarello began advancing coming up to the home turn, and by the top of the straight he had thrust his head in front. Challengers lined up across the track to try to reel him in through the final 200 metres, but Pinarello kept kicking and held on by a head.

“I’ve been pretty lucky – I got in with a round to go,” Innes said. “I had to make my run a little bit earlier than I wanted, because there were a couple of slow ones in front of me and he was a sitting duck for a long time.

“But Roger had him fit and we never lost faith in the horse. He is still a little bit weak, but he is going to be a nice horse as a four and five-year-old.

“I have had a pretty good career, so to come out and win a Group One race, especially the Derby over here after basing myself in Queensland for five weeks – while you don’t want to believe in fairy tales, it has happened.

“Pinarello could be a really nice Caulfield Cup horse either next season or the year after, but that is me. I am more than happy to bow out today. I just can’t find a better scenario than to go out a winner and winning a Derby.”

James, who was joined by delighted owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay for the post-race celebrations on course, was quick to deflect credit on to the retiring Innes.

“It was an inspired ride,” he said. “I felt we could win it with the right ride, and we got the right ride.

“To be honest, I thought it was a benefit to have missed running in the Rough Habit Plate (2143m) two weeks ago, where I thought we were going to run on an inevitably bad track.

“He has been a weak, frail horse this whole preparation. He had seven weeks between runs prior to his last win, and that was quite spectacular that day. I thought, ‘We can find a better way to the Derby.’

“He was actually going to go home and spell after the New Zealand Derby in March, but it was the Karaka sales week and we couldn’t get a float. After a week at home, I thought, ‘Holy hell, this horse has come through it well.’ I decided to keep him in work, and here is the result.

“I’ve run second and third in this Derby previously and placed in Sydney as well, and I’ve won five in New Zealand. To win a Derby in Australia is pretty special.”

Vendor Cambridge Stud
Breeding Tavistock – Zonza
Sale Lot 417, Karaka 2020 Book 1, Psd (Res $300,000)
Bred by B J Lindsay MNZM & Mrs J E A Lindsay