Warmonger (NZ) Stuns with Incredible Derby Win

4 June 2024

NZB celebrated four Group One Queensland Derby (2400m) wins in a row when Warmonger (NZ) (War Decree) scored a jaw-dropping victory in the A$1m classic at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Warmonger (NZ)

Warmonger was bought for $75,000 from Book 2 of Karaka 2022 and then cost $165,000 at the Ready to Run Sale. On Saturday he followed in the footsteps of fellow Queensland Derby-winning Karaka graduates Kovalica (NZ) (Ocean Park) in 2023, Pinarello (NZ) (Tavistock) in 2022 and Kukeracha (NZ) (Night Of Thunder) in 2021.

But even if there is a familiar feeling about a Karaka graduate winning the Queensland Derby, Warmonger’s performance on Saturday was something well out of the ordinary.

Drawn the outside gate in a full field of 18, Warmonger was caught four wide going around the first turn out of the straight. But jockey Blake Shinn got him to settle into a comfortable rhythm in the slightly better ground, and he effortlessly slid forward into a closer position in fifth.

Navy King (NZ) (U S Navy Flag) threw down the gauntlet and opened up a big lead down the back of the track, but he began to tire and come back to the field approaching the home turn. Shinn continued to surge forward on Warmonger, moving into second and being the first to challenge the fatigued leader at the top of the straight.

Warmonger soon took command and drove clear, and he stunned the big crowd at Eagle Farm as he got further and further in front through the final 200 metres. By the time he swept past the finish line, he was 10 and a half lengths ahead of the fast-finishing filly Moonlight Magic (NZ) (Almanzor), who completed a Queensland Derby quinella for the New Zealand-breds.

“What a great run by that horse,” Shinn said. “He did it the tough way out wide on the track, but he was just so comfortable all the way. He was really enjoying it and had his ears pricked going down the back of the track. It was like a track gallop.

“I asked him to extend from the 500 and he just kept building. The horse really deserved this. He’s been putting up some big performances.

“The wide barrier may have played into our hands a little bit, with the inside really cutting up now. I was happy being wider out in the fresher ground, and he just enjoyed it all the way around.”

Trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr for an OTI Racing syndicate, Warmonger has now had nine starts for three wins and three placings. He has earned A$933,300, which is 13 times his purchase price at Karaka 2022 and six times his price at the Ready to Run Sale.

Warmonger won the Listed TAB Trophy (1800m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington in the spring, and he headed to Queensland after a strong-finishing second in the Group One South Australian Derby (2500m). On Saturday he soared to all-new heights.

“The wet track was definitely the query today,” Kent said. “I was wondering what Blake was thinking at some points during the race, but he made all the right calls and put the horse in the race.

“In the end it was a real stamina test, and it was just a huge staying performance from this horse.

“He’s just flying at the moment. It’s a credit to the whole team. The horse travelled to Queensland so well.”

Warmonger became the first Group One winner for Inglewood Stud stallion War Decree, who has had yearlings sell for up to $150,000 at Karaka in recent years.

Warmonger completed a Group One double for New Zealand-breds at Eagle Farm on Saturday over wildly different distances. In the previous race on the card, sprinting superstar I Wish I Win (NZ) (Savabeel) took out the A$1m EVA Air Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).

Vendor Karaka 2022: Valachi DownsReady to Run Sale: Prima Park
Purchaser Karaka 2022: Prima Park/Bevan Smith Bloodstock (Waikato)Ready to Run Sale: Mr SJ Kennedy (Canterbury)
Breeding War Decree – Princess Sapphire
Sale Lot 1003, Karaka 2022 Book 2, $75,000Lot 221, 2022 Ready to Run Sale, $165,000
Bred by K J Hickman ONZM


Photo : Ross Stevenson