Johnny Get Angry – the Victoria Derby winner with premiership bloodlines

| November 10, 2020

Johnny Get Angry, named after a 1962 popular song by Joanie Somers, scored a famous victory in the Victoria Derby over a fast-finishing Hit The Shot and favourite Young Werther. The win was accompanied by a public outpouring of joy for former AFL premiership coach Denis Pagan who trained the winner. However, lost in the aftermath of the Derby was the terrific story of Johnny Get Angry and the tragic demise of his sire Tavistock. The NZ stallion died in December last year, around the time of the La Quema del Diablo, which according to Betway takes place every year like many other traditional festivals from around the world.

Johnny Get Angry was sourced as a yearling by astute horseman Troy Corstens of Malua Racing for former AFL premiership coach, Denis Pagan. He was bred by Greg Perry and was in the Bradbury Park draft at the New Zealand Premier Sale. Johnny Get Angry made $50,000 at the sale, being the only winner from his dam, the Zabeel mare Luminova.

Not many racing tipsters were successful in the Derby because Johnny Get Angry was a 7-start maiden. Pagan trains the horse from Flemington out of the Malua stables and yesterday, took home the entire $1.2M first prize of the Derby. 

Tragic loss of sire

Johnny Get Angry is a son of the Montjeu stallion Tavistock, who stood at Cambridge Stud in New Zealand. Tavistock had risen to the top of NZ stallion ranks having produced stars such as Hong Kong Gold Cup winner Werther, VRC Derby winner Tarzino, four-time Group 1 winner Volkstok’n’barrell and ATC Derby winner Tavago. Unfortunately, Tavistock died in December 2019 due to complications from a freak accident. His loss left a gaping hole in the local breeding industry. He continues to amass G1 winners at a frequency reminiscent of past champion NZ stallions in the likes of Oncidium and Le Filou.

Johnny Get Angry is the stallion’s sixth G1 winner and second winner of the Victoria Derby, Tarzino having won it in 2015. Third placegetter and race favourite Young Werther may have been a victim of the pedestrian pace mid-race however take nothing away from the winner as Johnny Get Angry’s turn of foot, unleashed at the precise moment, was testament to his enormous quality and potential.

Although Tavistock stood at the famous Cambridge Stud, also home of Zabeel and Sir Tristram, the cross of Tavistock over Zabeel has proven successful and includes Hong Kong Gold Cup winner Werther, Victoria Derby winner Tarzino, SAJC Schweppes Oaks winner Toffee Tongue, and Australian Derby winner Tavago. “I just love the Tavistock horses and I just try to get as many as I can out of Zabeel or Galileo mares,” said trainer Denis Pagan. If not gelded, Johnny Get Angry would have been a serious stallion prospect in this region, with his classic bloodlines.

Female line source of speed and stamina

Johnny Get Angry’s turn-of-foot will undoubtedly hold him in good stead for weight-for-age racing as an older horse. While Johnny Get Angry’s sire Tavistock was one of the few sons of Montjeu who won over sprint distances, his turn of foot was no doubt enhanced by elements in his Australian bred family, third dam being Hospitable, daughter of the speed influence Luskin Star. Hospitable finished 3rd in a Blue Diamond Prelude, while her son Fubu was a talented miler finishing 2nd to Show A Heart in the Caulfield Guineas amongst his other high level stakes performances. Hospitable’s stamina is also self-evident being a half-sister to Markham who won the South Australian Derby and was a fast-finishing 3rd to Might and Power in the Melbourne Cup. 

Johnny Get Angry’s second dam Pavlova, a listed-race winner, placed 4th in the 2006 Queensland Oaks (G1) won by Allow. His 6th dam along the tail-female line is Hardiemma, dam of 1978 English and Irish Derby hero, Shirley Heights. Hardiemma is third dam of Pentire who stood at Rich Hill Stud in New Zealand, siring Melbourne Cup winner Prince of Penzance as well as Xcellent and Xtravagant. 

Hit The Shot shows enormous potential

Run of the race, outside the winner, was possibly Hit The Shot a horse of enormous potential and one who may prove the best of them all. The son of Dundeel from Redoute’s Choice mare Tang, Hit The Shot was motoring home at the end of the 2500m. Trainer Matt Cumani was left both disappointed about what might have been but also tremendously excited about the future with his young colt. Another from the Sadlers’ Wells male-line, Hit The Shot hails from the family of Military Rose, Zestful and Australian champion sprinter-miler Zeditave.

Young Werther unsuited to slow pace

Young Werther was a beaten favourite but lost no admirers as he appeared most disadvantaged by the slow pace mid-race. As shown in his previous start, he is a horse that may require a truly run race for him to show his adept quality at the finish. But the unsuitable pace meant that he couldn’t quite match the sprint home. He will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in future staying races. Young Werther is also a gelded son of Tavistock, from the Fastnet Rock mare Romantic Time. From the same sale as Johnny Get Angry, Young Werther is from the family of Amelia’s Dream (G2 Silver Slipper S) and Grand Zulu (G1 BMW). Further back is the American champion Timely Writer (G1 Hopeful S, G1 Florida Derby).

Betting information

Johnny Get Angry paid $26 for the win and $5.00 the place bet. Favourite was Young Werther $3.50 just ahead of Cherry Tortoni $3.70 who ran 4th. Runner-up Hit The Shot started at $7.00.

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