Trent Busuttin and Hugh Bowman combined to win the AAMI Victoria Derby with Sangster
History repeated at Flemington on Saturday when Hugh Bowman combined with a New Zealand three-year-old to win the AAMI Victoria Derby.
One year after the top Sydney jockey combined with the Murray and Bjorn Baker-trained Lion Tamer to win the $1.5 million Classic, Bowman teamed with Sangster to score for young Cambridge horseman Trent Busuttin in front of a crowd of 92,336.
There was no repeat of the 6.5-length romp aboard Lion Tamer, with Sangster falling in by a head from the fast-finishing Induna, but Bowman was just thrilled to get home.
“I wasn’t looking at the screen this year, put it that way,” he said in reference his dream final 100m last year.
“I must thank Bjorn Baker for helping push me for the ride, but the bottom line is the horse did the job and I’m just delighted to be a part of it.”
It was a dream come true for Busuttin, the son of Macau-based trainer Paddy, who was a Spring Carnival regular in the early 1990s with former Caulfield Stakes winner Castletown.
“It’s just fantastic, I can’t describe it,” the 32-year-old said. “We set out three months ago and set the horse for the Derby and everything’s gone like a dream.
“It’s just unbelievable that we’ve got here and done the job. It’s been frustrating all the way through but we’ve picked up the big one.”
But Busuttin wasn’t confident approaching the home turn, with his son of Savabeel having been trapped wide for much of the race.
The $13 chance surged to the front at the top of the straight and after seeing off the challenge of Manawanui at the 250 and kicked more than two lengths clear before holding on to score from a charging Induna ($5.50).
Sabrage ($16) was given a fine ride by Damien Oliver and poked home along the fence to grab third, a further 1.3 lengths back, just in advance of Zabeelionaire ($21) and Isopach ($51).
While Busuttin was concerned with the work Sangster had to do in the run, Bowman said he was confident until the 100m.
“He travelled beautifully in the run,” Bowman said. “My plan was to go back worse than midfield to settle him, but he jumped well and I thought I’ll go forward-ish and he got keen so then I re-elected and tried to settle him.
“I was really happy with where I was in the run but at the 600 the horse I was tracking punctured and I had no choice but to go round him and the horse just took me into the race. He got there a bit soon and he stargarzed the last but he got there.”
The testing Derby distance proved too much for Manwanui at the end of a long campaign with the Ron Leemon-trained Group 1 winner battling into sixth placing, three lengths from the winner.