Polanski slays Derby field

| November 10, 2013
Polanski ridden by Hugh Bowman wins the G1 Victoria Derby at Flemington

Polanski ridden by Hugh Bowman wins the G1 Victoria Derby at Flemington

Polanski, the horse that cost $4,000, has won the Victoria Derby in a fairytale result at Flemington.

The three-year-old bay colt, ridden by Hugh Bowman, hit the front early in the straight and rode the 2,500m out strongly to win from Complacent and Thunder Fantasy.

The win was Bowman’s third Derby victory in the last four years.

Polanski had trailed early on the second half of the field but Bowman made his move, bringing Complacent and Criterion with him.

I took a lot of confidence out of the ride I had on him at Caulfield two weeks ago, I knew he would stay the distance. Of the three Derby winners, this guy is the strongest.

The jockey was able to keep Polanski running out the trip – the colt increased his margin over Complacent to three lengths on the line, with Thunder Fantasy passing Criterion to take third.

Bowman, whose wife is about to give birth, was delighted with the win.

“I would just like to give all the credit to Robbie Laing and his team,” he told the Seven Network.

“He’s a wonderful trainer. He couldn’t have turned this horse out any better.

“I took a lot of confidence out of the ride I had on him at Caulfield two weeks ago. I knew he would stay the distance.

“Of the three Derby winners, this guy is the strongest.”

Laing, who along with owners paid $4,000 for the horse, acknowledged the story behind Polanski’s win.

“Yeah, (it’s) an absolute fairytale,” he said.

“He showed great ability as a young horse. Every time we raised the bar with him, he jumped it.

“And my last text to a couple of owners this morning was ‘Don’t worry too much. There will be a margin’.

“I thought he was going to race closer. But I was very relieved to see him midfield in a fast-run Derby, absolutely bolting.”

Asked if this was the crowning moment of his career, Laing replied: “I hope this is the beginning of a new era with Laing Racing.

“We gave the jumps a good go, won every major bar one, most of them two and three times over. But I want a select team of Group horses now.

“I suppose we were a bit optimistic, on a $4,000 horse, to make him into a Group horse. He could go right on and be a good race for ager. He will go to the paddock now and, Fiveandahalfstar, Australian Guineas, then to Sydney.”

THE faith Robbie Laing had in a ratbag sire has paid off with $4000 buy Polanski beating the blue bloods in the Victoria Derby.

Although Laing liked the pedigree of Rakti, his progeny had been less than impressive, but the trainer was determined to do things his way.

Polanski delivered under a confident ride from Hugh Bowman, who claimed his third Derby win in four years when the colt beat Sheikh Mohammed’s Complacent.

“It is a fairytale,” Laing said.

“Rakti left horrible horses and everyone gelded them.

“I was determined that I would get on and leave him a bull.

“He was crazy like the rest of them, but we persevered and he’s a lovely horse now.”

The trainer spent Derby eve poring over the Stud Book and his confidence soared when he traced Polanski back to Phar Lap.

Laing also believed Polanski would run the 2500 metres of the Derby but, like all the others, was unsure until the colt was tested at the distance.

Sent out the second favourite at $5.50, Polanski was midfield in the early stages, with outsider Throw The King setting the pace.

Bowman made his move on Polanski at the top of the straight and set off to gather in the leaders with Spring Champion Stakes winner Complacent ($7) chasing after missing the start.

But the son of English Derby winner Authorized couldn’t make up the difference, with the margin a decisive three lengths.

Thunder Fantasy ($31), the least favoured of 2012 winning trainer Anthony Cummings’ two runners, was another 1-1/4 lengths away third, with Spring Champion runner-up Criterion ($11) fourth.

Favourite Savvy Nature ($4), third in the Spring Champion, never fired a shot, beating just two runners home.

“How clinical was that,” Laing said.

“Winning the Australian Cup with Roman Arch was fantastic, but this (Derby) is one of the real big ones.

“I’d heard about the Sydney form in the Spring Champion and studied it, but this horse had put on 10 kilos since his Norman Robinson win and was doing so well.”

“He showed ability as a young horse. Every time we raised the bar he jumped it.

“I thought he was going to be closer, but I was very pleased to see him midfield in a fast-run Derby.”

Bowman said the winner was strong to the line and had more to give.

“My gut feeling is that he is going to get better as he gets older,” he said.

“I started to get confident from about the 1200 to 1300 (metres) when the pace improved significantly. I was able to get him into a beautiful gait.”

Henry Plumptre, who heads Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Australia which races Complacent, was among the first to congratulate Laing on a job well done.

Cummings was pleased to see Thunder Fantasy run well, but rued Drago’s outside barrier.

“Swap the barriers and it’s a different story,” he said.

“They are both nice horses, but the barriers determined where they finished.”


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