The Derby Classic Qualifier for 3yo Colts is arguably the strongest of all divisions of these top-tier races from Raceclubs and on Thursday evening the cream of the crop were out in force to produce some ultra-competitive action and a real treat for impartial onlookers.
In a race which could hardly have been tougher if it were the final itself, all the big names were here – Amron, Darley Arabian, Gentleman Earl, Maroon Spirit and Randwick were all to feature in the first instance and there was also a full-field second instance which included the highly talented pair, Dusk Til Dawn and Tokii Dokii.
Gentleman Earl already had three qualifiers under his belt this season and was bidding to make it four. Liveoak Stables‘ was hoping his colt could bounce back from his last effort in a qualifier where he finished down the field. That was over 2400m though, a distance which seems to stretch his stamina and this 2200m with just a little give in the ground would prove to be far more to his liking. Gentleman Earl ran on strongly to collect with Eric Sun up. Most of the main protagonists were also in the shake-up. Price racing‘s Maroon Spirit did best of the rest to finish second ahead of Darley Arabian and Randwick.
The second instance of the race was to see obvious form choices, Dusk Til Dawn and Tokii Dokii both get turned over. Polar Lights, owned by Cotton Castle, had finished third last season in a Classic Challenge Qualifier Juvenile
under conditions identical to those prevailing today but had yet to participate at the top level in four starts this season. The chestnut colt clearly enjoyed himself today however as he powered home under Heinz Huber to claim some notable scalps.
These results leave Gentleman Earl six points clear of Dusk Til Dawn at the head of the standings with Darley Arabian and Maroon Spirit eight and nine points further back respectively. Polar Nights comes straight in at sixteenth place.
The Oaks Qualifier for 3yo Fillies was not short on the virtual equine talent either. Gissy Nag’s Queen Of Anfield had won no fewer than eleven of her thirty career starts to date though she has done less this season and there were question marks over whether she retains as much ability at three as she did as a juvenile. Sky Castle Stables’ Wonderful Outcome produced a first time out third place finish in a similar event before winning on her only other outing so far this term. It was Legend Of The Sea though who boasted the strongest claims based on a second and third place finish in her only two qualifier starts this season and this provided an ideal opportunity for Wrs Stables‘ filly to find her way into the winners’ enclosure. The bay mare proved too strong in the finish for closest pursuer, Queen Of Anfield who was unable to peg her back despite able assistance from Charlie Saxon in the saddle. Sky Castle Stables’ Wonderful Outcome finished third.
Legend Of The Sea now tops the standings, just one point ahead of Gissy Nag’s Passion Flower who trailed in last here. Things did not unfold in her favor throughout the race however and she can prove this running all wrong in future. Majestic Fantasy who was absent today sits just one point further adrift in third place.