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.