A horse described by his trainer as a ‘big dummy’ has set himself up for a possible two-state Derby assault after winning the VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington on Anzac Day.
Through Irish Eyes proved too good for the opposition in Sunday’s 2800m three-year-old test but it wasn’t without incident after the gelding wanted to wander around late in the race.
Jockey Mark Zahra rode Through Irish Eyes perfectly having him poised to challenge on straightening and the son of Tavistock strode up to take the lead and eventually proved too strong in the last 200m despite running about.
The gelding had eased from $2.70 to $3.20 at jump time with Favreau the favourite at $3 after also opening at $2.70.
Ridden by Damien Oliver Favreau was also given every chance trailing the winner but he was unable to reel Through Irish Eyes in and it was left to Salto Angel ($9.50 into $6.50) to take second place, a length from the winner and a head clear of Favreau.
“He’s just a really, really nice staying horse. He’s still learning his craft – he had a proper wander around when he hit the front but when the penny drops he is going to continue to progress with racing,” co-trainer David Eustace said.
“He is a big dummy. He’s had a pretty tough life, actually, as a young horse. He’s lucky to be alive and racing.
“This horse will push on and we’ll see how far he gets. Whether he goes to Queensland and gives Adelaide a miss, we’ll see how he comes through.
“If he’s going back to a mile-and-a-half he might need some freshening up.”
The $600,000 South Australian Derby is run over 2500m at Morphettville on May 8 while the Queensland Derby, also worth $600,000 is run a month later on June 5.
Originally published as‘Big dummy’ lands VRC St Leger
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