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Aussie Superstar Heads Karaka Quinella in Derby

Australian Racing's Latest Superstar Heads Karaka Quinella in Derby

A dazzling performance by New Zealand-bred, Efficient (Zabeel x Refused the Dance) in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday, has catapulted him into Melbourne Cup contention.

In a charmed ride by young Queenslander, Michael Rodd, the Graeme Rogerson-trained gelding relaxed on the rails towards the back of the field during the running and proceeded to unleash an impressive burst of speed in the closing stages to scoot around runners and gun down fellow Karaka Premier Sale graduate Gorky Park (Montjeu x Steluta) by two-and-a-quarter-lengths.

Karaka graduate Efficient (Zabeel x Refused the Dance) winning the Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby.

Straight after the race, connections confirmed Efficient would pay the AU$132,000 late entry fee for a tilt at Tuesday's Emirates Melbourne Cup.

By New Zealand champion sire, Zabeel, and out of the Defensive Play mare, Refused the Dance, Efficient now has the near-perfect record of six starts for five wins and prize-money in excess of $1,075,000. He becomes the first Victoria Derby winner for Zabeel, the first for trans-Tasman trainer, Graeme Rogerson and the fifth AAMI Vase winner to go on to win the Derby in the past 20 years, the last one being Plastered in 2004.

Rogerson purchased Efficient on spec from Gordon Cunningham's Curraghmore Stud for NZ$220,000 at the 2005 Karaka Premier Yearling Sale. Prominent Melbourne owner Lloyd Williams subsequently took a three-quarter share in the horse while his breeders, Cambridge Hunt, also share in the ownership.

After the race a jubilant Nick Williams gushed, "If you buy a horse at Karaka, you win".

Remarkably this is Efficient's first preparation, and a timely fillip for the New Zealand industry in the build up to the National Yearling Sales Series at Karaka in January where Zabeel is represented by 28 entries including colts from outstanding mares Sunline, Silk Slipper, Diamond Lover and L'Quiz.

Second place-getter, Gorky Park, bred by Rachel Savory, was purchased by Les Samba for NZ$360,000 from Little Avondale Stud at the 2005 Karaka Premier Sale, and is raced by a group of owners that include Les and his daughter Victoria Samba.

Gorky Park was the second Group 1 placing for Montjeu on Saturday, with Growl (Montjeu x The Lions Roar) finishing in second place behind Desert War just one race later in the Motorola Mackinnon Stakes (2000m). Montjeu is represented by more than 40 yearlings at Karaka in January, including a full brother to Growl in the Karaka Premier Sale.

Efficient has drawn a favourable barrier eight for tomorrow's Melbourne Cup and will be one of three entries for Lloyd Willams, including New Zealand-bred Activation (Zabeel x Coogee Walk) and Zipping (Danehill x Social Scene).

After Saturday's win, Rogerson applauded Williams' commitment to his racing team, "He puts so much into faith in his team that it's great to see him rewarded."

Efficient and Activation are joined by fellow New Zealand breds Art Success (Pentire x Zabalette), Kerry O'Reilly (O'Reilly x Pegarah), Zabeat (Rhythm x Zabest) and Mandela (Ebony Grosve x Wairongoa Belle) in the 24-horse field.

Other New Zealand Bloodstock sale graduates to make the Cup field is last year's Caulfield Cup winner Railings (Zabeel x La Suffragette) and Australian Derby winner Headturner (Anabaa x Monroe Magic).


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