Danny O’Brien has captured the major staying races in the spring with one exception, the Victoria Derby, and his wish to win that race has received an added boost with the strong staying performance of Cetshwayo.
Although he was having only his second start, the three-year-old son of Dundeel proved too strong in the Victoria Derby Trial (1800m) at Flemington on Wednesday to score a golden ticket into the classic.
“I’m hoping he’s a Derby horse. He’ll need another run or two to get the freshness out of him beforehand though,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien was happy with Cetshwayo’s debut when he finished an unlucky eighth at Geelong where he wobbled around in the straight.
“I told (jockey) Jamie (Kah) to be quiet on him from his wide barrier,” O’Brien said.
Cetshwayo is raced by Trevor Delroy who has bred and raced Australian Derby winner Ethiopia and BMW Stakes winner Cedarberg.
The victory completed a double for Kah and she believed it was the first time she had ridden a winner for O’Brien.
“He settled beautifully and on that, he’d run out the journey without any problem. He would have won by further but he was waiting for them on the line,” Kah said.
Pierro’s sister Pensato confirmed she was headed to the VRC Oaks after her comfortable win in the Oaks Trial at Flemington.
Trainer James Cummings’ Melbourne foreman Sean Keogh said the daughter of Lonhro had now ticked the box to show she could stay.
“We knew she had a turn of foot and she’s impeccably bred but we just wanted to find out whether she could stay or not,” Keogh said.
Her jockey John Allen, who had her placed outside the leader, said he thought she was capable of running out the 2500 metres of the Oaks.
“She relaxes nicely and she’s clean in the wind. She has a great attitude so she should have every opportunity to run the distance out. I can’t see it being an issue,” Allen said.
Pensato’s half-sister Ambience finished second in the Australian Oaks and third in the VRC Oaks.
Swan Hill trainer Nathan Hobson and his apprentice Madison Lloyd combined for their first Flemington win when Yulong Storm claimed the Star Of The Realm Handicap.