THE ATC AUSTRALIAN DERBY
2400m, $2 million, set weights
* First run in 1861 and won by Kyogle, the Derby is firmly established as the No.1 three-year-old Classic in the country.
* Past winners include Grand Flaneur (1880), Poseidon (1906), Gloaming (1918), Heroic (1924), Phar Lap (1929), Peter Pan (1932), Hall Mark (1933), Tea Rose (1944), Tulloch (1957), Silver Sharpe (1970), Classic Mission (1971), Imagele (1973), Dulcify (1979), Kingston Town (1980), Strawberry Road (1983), Bonecrusher (1986), Beau Zam (1988), Research (1989), Naturalism (1992), Mahogany (1994), Octagonal (1996, Starcraft (2004), It’s A Dundeel (2013), Criterion (2014).
* The late TJ Smith holds training honours with nine winners: Playboy (1949), Tulloch (1957), Summer Prince (1962), Summer Fiesta (1963), Prince Grant (1965), Silver Sharpe (1970), Imagele (1973), Great Lover (1976) and Kingston Town (1980).
* Champion jockey Tommy Hales holds the record for riding the most winners: Richmond (1875), Grand Flaneur (1880), Navigator (1882), Bargo (1884), Trident (1886) and Abercorn (1887).
* Veteran New Zealand trainer Murray Baker has won the race four times in the past decade with Nom Du Jeu (2008), It’s A Dundeel (2013), Mongolian Khan (2015) and Jon Snow (2017), his first in partnership with Andrew Forsman. The training partners have four runners this year including Vin De Dance and Mission Hill
* The race is open to fillies but few are given the challenge. The last filly to win was Shamrocker in 2011.
* Champion filly Research won both the Derby and the Australian Oaks in 1989 when they were four days apart.
* Favourite Ace High is aiming to be the first horse to win the Victoria Derby/Australian Derby double since Mahogany in 1993-94.
WHAT CONNECTIONS ARE SAYING
“This is what he’s waiting for and he’s on track,” – David Payne, trainer of Ace High
“The way he’s hit the line the last couple of runs I’m sure he’ll get the 2400” – Belfast’s co-trainer Natalie Young
“In his earlier runs he’s shown a good turn of foot over short distances and I think all those things combined equate to a good horse that can sustain an 800 metre gallop under pressure,” – Levendi’s trainer Peter Gelagotis