The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Jack in a staying raid on Derby
HE WASN’T the most fashionable horse nor did he have the most traditional lead-up, but going into yesterday’s ATC Derby at Randwick co-trainer Ciaron Maher knew Explosive Jack would raise eyebrows.
The three-year-old didn’t let him down as he powered over the top of his rivals to show superior staying ability and win in a photo finish from Young Werther.
“Normally people want the sharper horses around here,” Maher said.
“We got him from New Zealand and he was reasonable money for a Jakkalberry who is probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but he’s a strong stayer.”
When asked at what point did Maher become confident of winning the Derby as his horse came from near last on the home turn he said: “Before the race started”.
“He gives his all. We gave him a gallop down at Werribee last Saturday and I wanted that to be his best piece of work so we could then bring him in nice and fresh,” Maher said.
“(Jockey) Johnny (Allen) got off him and looked at me and said ‘that might have been the best bit of work that horse has done’ and it certainly looked like it to me.
“We knew he was well and everything worked out and he’s just improved from the time he won his first start.”
Allen’s ride was hair-raising but the right one to give his horse a chance of coming over the top of them late.
He settled Explosive Jack near last in the running before starting to niggle at him from the 1000m and get him going.
It looked like Randwick Guineas winner Lion’s Roar was the threat when he sprinted better but Explosive Jack’s staying ability was the difference late.
Allen rode him confidently knowing his horse would produce the goods when the others were getting a stitch over the final 100m.
“He is a tough horse, the distance was never going to be a worry with him,” Allen said.
“We got cover on the back of Young Werther. Montefilia actually popped out down the side and pushed me out a bit wide.
“I didn’t want to take off on him too early so I let her come around me.
“Once we got to the outside, he really let down and he tries his guts out this horse.”
Explosive Jack’s owners went crazy after the race, jumping around all over each other, even though the photo finish hadn’t been produced.
It’s been a remarkable journey for Explosive Jack, who wasn’t good enough to win a Class 1 at Goulburn in December before winning at Kembla Grange then taking out the Tasmanian Derby.
“We’ve moved him around. John Allen thought he’d be a good Tasmanian Derby horse and then he was in Victoria and we came up here to target this,” Maher said.
“It was a 10 out of 10 ride from Johnny and it was just his knowledge of the horse.”