Victoria Derby – a pedigree perspective

27 October 2022 Written by Brad Bishop – Racing & Sports

Using the pedigrees to look at who's best-placed to run the Penfolds Victoria Derby distance.

When Andrew Forsman brought Lion Tamer to Melbourne for the 2010 Spring Carnival as Murray Baker’s travelling foreman, he dreamed of one day celebrating similar highs of his own.

Never did he dare imagine, a dozen years on, he’d be on the cusp of doing so with a close relation to the horse who scored a 6-1/2-length Derby romp.

Forsman’s Derby hope this year, Mr Maestro, is out of a half-sister to Lion Tamer.

Mr Maestro’s dam Let Me Roar, a daughter of Rip Van Winkle, is out of the Generous mare Lioness, who is also the dam of Lion Tamer.

It was one of the things that attracted Forsman to Mr Maestro at the Karaka yearling sale, where he purchased the son of Savabeel for $100,000.

“Obviously, being by Savabeel was a big leg-up for a start, but we knew the damside pretty well too,” he said.

“We raced the mother (Let Me Roar) and she was very brilliant, but she was related to Lion Tamer who had to win a Derby.

“He (Mr Maestro) had some good strong bloodlines and as a type I thought he was very similar to Lion Tamer.”

Lion Tamer, who was by Storming Home, proved the family have no issue with the Derby distance while there is stout staying blood even further back with Lioness a granddaughter of 1980 Melbourne Cup runner-up My Blue Denim, while Harris Tweed also appears on the pedigree page.

Finding who might be best-placed to run the Derby distance is often a head start to finding the winner and below is a brief look at the pedigrees of the 17 runners engaged in this year’s race.

1 – SHARP ‘N’ SMART (Redwood x Queen Margaret)
Bought out of Book 2 at Karaka for $55,000, last Saturday’s G1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) winner is out of a daughter of Swiss Ace who was a half-sister to Absalon (Mossman), a Listed winner over 1200m and 1600m. Second dam Danish Seaway is a sister to Sir Ernesto (Danehill), who was well-performed in Hong Kong, and a half to Angling, who won a Listed Dulcify (2000m) and ran third in a G3 Spring Stakes (1600m). Brise De Mer (Bering), the dam of Sir Ernesto and Angling, is a half-sister to Halling (Diesis), who was a champion in the Northern Hemisphere in the mid-1990s.

2 – BERKELEY SQUARE (Territories x Bahamas)
Part of a long line of family bred by David Peacock, whose lime green colours were sported by most female members of the family, including Berkeley Square’s dam Bahamas (Teofilo), who placed in both the G1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) and G3 Fillies Classic (2500m), and her granddam St Trinians (Black Hawk). Berkeley Square is not the first of Bahamas’s progeny who look to have staying ability with her first foal, Senor Toba (Toronado), a G3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) winner and G1 Queensland Derby (2400m) runner-up before being sold to Hong Kong where he is a G3 winner and G1 placegetter over 2400m.

3 – LET’SROLLTHEDICE (Dundeel x Hannah In A Hurry)
By the son of High Chaparral who was beaten as favourite in this race but dominated his rivals in the Sydney equivalent and has proven himself a versatile stallion. The $240,000 Inglis Premier purchase might be relying on Dundeel blood to see out the Derby trip with Hannah In A Hurry a daughter of More Than Ready who is related to a number of Black Type performers but most of them up to 1600m.

4 – MR MAESTRO (Savabeel x Let Me Roar)
See above.

5 – PERICLES (Street Boss x Accessories)
Godolphin-bred gelding by one of their stallions who is best known for his deeds with sprinters – ie: The Quarterback, Elite Street, Hanseatic and Rapper Dragon – but has also produced Anamoe, who won last week’s Cox Plate (2040m). Accessories is a daughter of Japan Cup winner Singspiel who has been a brilliant producer for Sheikh Mohammed, throwing the likes of Helmet, Epaulette and Bullbars. But aside from Pericles, who ran second in last week’s Moonee Valley Vase (2040m), Helmet is the only son or daughter of Accessories to race beyond 1600m, for an eighth in the Cox Plate and a 12th in the UAE Derby (1888m). Not technically here until December 4, Pericles is the youngest horse in the race.

6 – GRAND PIERRO (Pierro x Le Societe)
A $50,000 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale graduate by a champion 2YO who won the Sydney Triple Crown, but also placed in a Cox Plate and has thrown an ATC Derby winner (Levendi) and a VRC Oaks winner (Pinot) and has a 4x3 cross of Zabeel, being out of a daughter of the legendary sire who won a Listed New Zealand St Leger (2500m).

7 – MANZOICE (Almanzor x Choice)
Member of the first Southern Hemisphere crop of Almanzor, a son of Wootton Bassett who is taking all before him in Europe. A $340,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast buy, Manzoice is out of the Mastercraftsman mare Choice, a G3 winner in New Zealand whose granddam Baroness Britney is a half-sister to Hasta Lueago whose daughter Windin The Willows has thrown G2 South African Oaks (2400m) winner Wind Chill.

8 – FOUJITA SAN (Maurice x Belle Giselle)
One big thing this $360,000 Inglis Easter purchase has in his favour is that he bred on precisely the same cross as last year’s brilliant winner Hitotsu; by Maurice out of a Redoute’s Choice mare. Another is Zabeel making an appearance in the family tree. Belle Giselle is out of Mam’selle Giselle (Kenmare) who is a half-sister to the former star racehorse and legendary sire, who has produced a VRC Derby winner in Efficient.

9 – SKYPHIOS (Fiorente x Spleasure)
Boasts one of the most interesting pedigrees of any runner, being a son of Fiorente who also has that Melbourne Cup on the damside of the page. Spleasure is out of Isla Canela (Gone West), a 2000m winner in France who is a daughter of two-time G1 Yorkshire Oaks (2385m) winner Islington. Islington’s dam Hellenic (Darshaan) also won a Yorkshire Oaks and another of her daughters, Desert Beauty (Green Desert), is the dam of Fiorente’s mother Desert Bloom.

10 – MURAMASA (Deep Impact x Omei Sword)
Strange to say he seemed a cheap buy at $500,000 (Inglis Easter), but he is by legendary Japanese racehorse and stallion Deep Impact out of a daughter of High Chaparral and Thousand Guineas winner Irish Lights who won a G2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m) and finished runner-up in a G1 Golden Rose (1400m). Most of the best performances on the damside have come below 2000m, but Deep Impact won a Japan Cup, has thrown Japan Cup winners himself and counts 2000m 3YO Group 1 winners Profondo and Glint Of Hope among his Australian progeny. An August 24 foal, Muramasa is the oldest horse in the race.

11 – FEARLESS KNIGHT (Lonhro x Typhoon Tess)
Sire not renowned for producing stayers, but his dad did win an ATC Derby and was an unlucky second in the VRC Derby. A $180,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast purchase, Fearless Knight is out of a Redoute’s Choice mare whose dam Gallant Tess – a daughter of the mighty Galileo – was a multiple Group 2 winner up to 1600m and placed five times at G1 level, four of them at 1600m.

12 – BERARDINO (Real Impact x Roseito)
Originally sold for $50,000 out of Book 2 at the Magic Millions January Sale, he was later offered at the NZ Ready-To-Run Sale where Busuttin Racing bought him for $290,000. By a son of Deep Impact out of a Snitzel mare who is a three-quarter sister to South Australian Derby (2500m) winner Howard Be Thy Name. Second dam Bellini Rose (Faltaat) won eight races, including a Group 2 Rose Of Kingston Stakes (1400m), but there is strength further back on the page with fourth dam La Tache a half-sister to Grand Echezeaux, a daughter of Zabeel who won a Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m). Grand Echezeaux is also the dam of Darci Brahma and is a three-quarter-sister to Romanee Conti, who is the dam of Ethereal, the most recent horse to complete the Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup double.

13 – DISTRUSTFUL AWARD (Shamus Award x Distrustful)
The gelding is a homebred for Sean Buckley out of a Trusting mare whose only public appearance was a sixth placing in a 1000m Balaklava trial. Distrustful’s dam Fandom (Rock Of Gibraltar) won two races, over 1000m and 1200m. Those after confidence that Distrustful Award can run the Derby trip might look to the fact Shamus Award is the sire of last year’s Caulfield Cup winner and Melbourne Cup runner-up Incentivise and Classic winners Duais, Mr Quickie, El Patroness and Media Award.

14 – HIGHLAND BLAZE (Highland Reel x Bells Of Troy)
Among the first Australian crop by Highland Reel, whose pedigree boasts a lot of names Aussies would be familiar with, including 2003 Victoria Derby winner Elvstroem. By Galileo, he was a versatile globe-trotting superstar who won seven Group 1s, five of them at around 2400m. Bells Of Troy is a daughter of Clangalang who won four races between 1412m 2200m, including 2000m wins at Flemington and Caulfield.

15 – KING’S CROSSING (Almanzor x Spiriting)
Another by Almanzor out of a Montjeu mare who won up to 2000m. Spiriting has already proven she can throw a handy stayer, being the dam of G3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) winner and G2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) runner-up Top Of The Range. Spiriting’s half-sister Savsbelle (Savabeel) finished third in Faint Perfume’s VRC Oaks (2500m) while another half-sister, Just Polite (Dehere), won a G3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and is the dam of Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Ladies First (Dylan Thomas), who won a G1 Auckland Cup (3200m).

16 – LEHNDORFF (Snitzel x Veruschka)
A good as Arrowfield’s champion stallion is, he’s not renowned for throwing Derby types, but there is plenty of depth and class to the damside of the colt who was being carried by Veruschka when Yulong bought her from Coolmore for $500,000 at the 2018 Chairman’s Sale. Veruschka’s unraced dam Loveisallyouneed, a daughter of Sadler’s Wells, has had winners up to 3200m and is a sister to G1 Irish 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner and English Oaks (2400m) runner-up Yesterday and Quarter Moon, who was a G1 winner as a two-year-old who also placed in both the English Oaks (2400m) and Irish Oaks (2400m).

17 (1st em) – ABERFELDIE BOY (So You Think x Absolute Joy)
The $220,000 Magic Millions yearling screams stayer, being by former champion racehorse So You Think (High Chaparral) from the Denise’s Joy family. Granddam Joie Denise (Danehill) won a G1 Queensland Oaks (2400m), has thrown an ATC Oaks winner in Sunday Joy (Sunday Silence) while another daughter, Tuesday Joy (Carnegie), won a G1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) and placed in an ATC Derby, ATC Oaks and VRC Oaks. Group 1 performers More Joyous (More Than Ready) and Fenway (High Chaparral) are also in the family.

See the full acceptances for Penfolds Victoria Derby Day.