Victoria Derby winner Courage Under Rule is after another Australian Derby. After convincingly winning at the Cambridge-Te Awamutu Harness Racing Club's meeting tonight (Thursday), the smart 3-year-old will leave New Zealand next Wednesday for a tilt at the Group One 3yo $100,000 New South Wales Derby at Menangle Park on Anzac Day (April 25).
After winning the Victoria Derby on February 6 at Moonee Valley Courage To Rule will also make a third jaunt across the Tasman for the Breeders Crown at Melton's Tabcorp Park in Victoria on August 22. But more immediately, Courage To Rule's Christchurch-based co-owner Paul Browman believed his pride and joy could win a second Derby at the end of the month.
"He won easily tonight. He was expected to mind you. He never got the draw (14) or run to suit in the Woodlands Derby two starts back. He was back, lost 10 lengths, was three-wide and then left parked but did well to finish sixth. He is a quality animal and with the run can repeat his Victorian Derby heroics of February 6 (Waitangi day)," Browman said.
Even though thegelding was the second favourite behind Devil Dodger tonight, he and driver Ferguson never looked like losing from the moment they led early in the 2200m mobile. They draw five of seven and paid $2.60 win.
"That was a strong win but it wasn't a Derby field. He had to win tonight to give us the confidence we need in Australia. He's such a strong horse, who unlike a lot of 3-year-olds, has learnt to relax so well in his races. He will be hard to beat in Australia again," Browman said.
Courage To Rule had half a length to spare over Devil Dodger and David Butt with Lord Federer and Tony Herlihy 2-3/4 back in third. Winning time: 2:44 (mile rate: 2:00.0) with final 800m and 400m sectionals of 55.5 and 26.9 seconds.
"He simply ran them off their feet tonight. His dam (Rule The Roost) was one of the fastest mares I have sat behind. She also had raw speed. I labelled this fella to John Green at the Sales and he paid $55,000 for him," Browman said.
Green is co-trainer John Green, who conditions the bay with Brian Hughes at Ardmore.
Courage To Rule has now won six of his 24 starts and placed in 11 others for $336,377. He was bred by Caulfield Park and as well as Browman is owned by Green, Green's mother; Rodney Edgerton; and Australia driver Greg Bennett's mother.
Congratulations go out to Sailesh Abernethy who reined his first winner at tonight's meeting at Cambridge Raceway.
The Papakura junior driver won behind the horse his brother Jay trains called Daniela Hantuchova. It was just his fifth race-day drive and Abernethy shocked the punters somewhat paying $15.90 and $4.20 to win and place in the last event - the $6000 Harness Jewels Fillies and Mares Mobile for maiden pacers.
CAMBRIDGE RACEWAY HIGHLIGHTS:
First Winning Drive: Sailesh Abernethy.
Top Driver: Tony Herlihy 2 wins.
Top Sire: Bettor's Delight 2 wins.
Top Junior Driver: David Branch and Josh Dickie 1 win apiece.
Top Trainer: 10 races and 10 winning trainers.
Results from the Cambridge-Te Awamutu harness Racing Club's meeting held at Cambridge Raceway in Cambridge tonight (Thursday) were:
Race 1: The Sean McCaffrey trained LEONIDAS (Bettor's Delight) Maurice McKendry.
Race 2: The John Green & Brian Hughes trained COURAGE TO RULE () Peter Ferguson.
Race 3: The John Dickie trained THE GUARDIAN () Josh Dickie.
Race 4: The Dane Alexander trained PHOEBE GLADIATOR () David Branch.
Race 5: The Paul Evans trained FOREVER LOYAL (Knight Rainbow) Todd Mitchell.
Race 6: The Barry Purdon & Scott Phelan trained INTREPID TRAVELLER (Bettor's Delight) Scott Phelan.
Race 7: The Tony Herlihy trained and driven GRACE WAY ().
Race 8: The Steven Reid & Graeme Rogerson trained THE OYSTER BAR () Tony Herlihy.
Race 9: The Bryan Macey trained PRETTY TO WATCH () Philip Butcher.
Race 10: The Jay Abernethy trained DANIELA HANTUCHOVA () Sailesh Abernethy.
Duane RANGER (editor)