Yu­catan ‘won’t be hand­i­capped by his­tory’


YU­CATAN will have to defy Mel­bourne Cup his­tory and over­come a Flem­ing­ton hoodoo af­ter draw­ing bar­rier 23, trig­ger­ing a bet­ting drift.

The clear-cut favourite since an em­phatic Her­bert Power Stakes romp, Yu­catan eased from $4.20 to $4.50 with TAB.

No horse has won from gate AN emotional Brad Spicer was swamped ec­static own­ers af­ter the horse he pre­dicted 12 months ago would win a Vic­to­ria Derby — Ex­tra Brut — did just that, cap­ping off one of his tough­est weeks in rac­ing.

A week ear­lier, Spicer had spent a sleep­less Satur­day night, fear­ing the horse he had bought to win a Mel­bourne Cup — Kings Will Dream — might not sur­vive af­ter frac­tur­ing 23 since mud­lark Van der Hum in 1976. Since bar­ri­ers were in­tro­duced to the Cup in 1924, Rim­fire, in 1941, is the only other win­ner from 23.

In a sign of just how dom­i­nant the 11 in­ter­na­tion­als in this year’s field are, eight of the first nine horses in bet­ting are trained abroad.

James Cum­mings’ Avil­ius ($13) is the ex­cep­tion.

Nick Wil­liams, part-owner his pelvis in the Cox Plate. Fast for­ward seven days, and the prin­ci­pal of Spicer Thor­ough­breds was lead­ing Ex­tra Brut into the Flem­ing­ton en­clo­sure af­ter a strong stay­ing per­for­mance to win the $2 mil­lion Vic­to­ria Derby.

“I was ac­tu­ally go­ing out to lead the horse in and all I could think about was Kings Will Dream,” Spicer said. “It has been one of one of those weeks. The adren­a­line is just kick­ing in now.

“To have Ex­tra Brut come of Yu­catan, said the bar­rier was ir­rel­e­vant.

“I think bar­ri­ers are over­rated. It doesn’t worry me at all,” Wil­liams said. “There’s a 1000m run to the first turn to work it out. We’ll have a look at the race over the next few days and work out a plan.

“It will be fine. To be hon­est I would have been more con­cerned if he drew (bar­rier) one.

“In a per­fect world, you out and do this is amaz­ing. Noth­ing has been win­ning from the back all day, and for him to get there so quickly, and to hold on, was just in­cred­i­ble.”

In a Derby that pro­vided a bru­tal tempo that burst a num­ber of bub­bles, Ex­tra Brut ($10) toughed it out to score by length from a fast-fin­ish­ing Stars Of Car­rum ($18), with a luck­less Cha­pada ($16) in third place.

Trainer Dar­ren Weir re­vealed how part-owner Spicer had told him a year ago that would draw five to ten, but I don’t think it mat­ters. He’s fly­ing. I can’t think of a time when we have taken a horse in bet­ter con­di­tion to the races. if he stays in that form for the next two days, he will put on a real show.”

Lead­ing Aus­tralian hope Avil­ius drew per­fectly in bar­rier 11 as sev­eral of the raiders were cast into wider gates.

Ai­dan O’Brien’s Rostropovich Ex­tra Brut — a $100,000 pur­chase from the 2017 Syd­ney Inglis Clas­sic sales — would make an ideal Derby horse.

“Brad said ‘I bought you a Derby horse’, so he is a very good judge,” Weir said.

Weir, who lost Kings Will Dream and Hu­mi­dor for the spring af­ter the Cox Plate, and with­drew Tosen Basil from the Mel­bourne Cup late on Fri­day, said the vic­tory was a boost for the team af­ter a tough week.

“It hasn’t be a great week for us, but it is nice to be back will start in 21, while sta­ble­mate The Cliffsofmoher drew ide­ally in nine. Magic Cir­cle, trained by Ian Wil­liams, will jump from 17.

A Prince Of Arran, who drew 20, es­caped penalty for win­ning the Lexus Hand­i­cap.

Richard Freed­man-trained Auvray drew bar­rier one, the same gate Michelle Payne used to pi­lot Prince Of Pen­zance to vic­tory in 2015. on top again,” he said.

Spicer said: “We had a lunch up at Weiry’s (at Bal­larat) 12 months ago, and I said that he looks like a Derby horse. You say that about a lot of horse who are bred to stay and who look like stay­ers. You just hope you can get there, so to pull it off is amaz­ing.”

The vic­tory was a bonus for Aquis Farm, who bought into Ex­tra Brut on Mon­day, re­ceiv­ing a size­able re­turn on their in­vest­ment within a week.

“Mr (Tony) Fung (Aquis chair­man) is a big in­vestor in rac­ing, so it is re­ally great for them to be in­volved, and to keep them in­ter­ested go­ing for­ward,” Spicer said.

Spicer said Kings Will Dream still had a long road to re­cov­ery ahead of him.

“We were very wor­ried about the horse on Satur­day night,” he said. “We thought we had lost him, so for him to pick him­self up again is good.”

“We are go­ing to try and get him back to the track, but that is not the be all and end all.”


GREAT FIN­ISH: Ex­tra Brut charges home to win the Vic­to­ria Derby.

PRIMED: Yu­catan walks laps.

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