Dr Ronerail filly beats the boys in Derby

10:02 AM 19 Jul 2009 NZST
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Dr Ronerail
Dr Ronerail
File Photo

Arizona Blue confirmed her reputation as New South Wales's most exciting trotter in years with a dashing win in this afternoon's $75,000 Group 1 Seelite Windows and Doors Victoria Trotters Derby at Maryborough.

In posting her ninth win from just 11 starts, The John Heath-trained star joined Zesta (2002) as the only girls to have beaten the boys in the past 19 editions of Australia's oldest trotting classic.

She completed the New South Wales-Victoria Trotters Derby double to provide her trainer-breeder with one of his most satisfying moments in harness racing.

"We've won a few big races over the years but to breed the winner of a Victoria Trotters Derby gives you a great deal of personal satisfaction," said Heath, who won Victoria's pacing Derby in 1975 with Little William.

"We (New South Wales) have had some good trotters over the years but she looks like the best we've had for a while. It's very exciting."

Arizona Blue was simply too strong for her rivals in the 2690-metre mobile event.

Driver John Ogden gave the Dr Ronerail filly time to settle in the early stages from their back-row starting position, but made his move as the field headed down the home straight the first time and assumed the lead at the 1900m mark.

She had $2.40 favourite Down Under Muscles parked on her outside for the last 1100m, but after covering the middle two quarters in just 63 seconds the $3.30 second elect had plenty to offer in the last 400m.

She had Down Under Muscles beaten rounding the home bend, at which point Carletonhill (leader's back) and Let Me Thru (one out one back) were her only dangers.

She held them off with ease, holding a 5-1/4-metre margin over Let Me Thru ($5) with Carletonhill ($26) maintaining her position to grab third money a further 13 metres away.

The victory atoned for third placings at her only two previous Victorian outings and Heath said that once she was allowed to find the front he knew she'd be hard to beat.

"Once she went forward and was out in the open I was confident because I knew she would keep going," Heath said. "She's a very strong filly."

Arizona Blue will now head home before returning for next month's Australasian Breeders Crown at Tabcorp Park.

Brad Bishop

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