The AAMI Victoria Derby picture changed markedly today after It’s A Dundeel suffered a surprise defeat in the $220,000 Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
The Mark Kavanagh-trained gelding engineered a big upset, with Michael Rodd in the saddle, when he handed the even money Derby favourite the first defeat of his career.
Super Cool, a son of Fastnet Rock whose only other win from four starts came in a Seymour maiden, scored a strong win over It’s A Dundeel.
While a surprise to most punters, Kavanagh said he headed to Moonee Valley optimistic he could cause a boilover and is now excited about the Derby.
“Well, actually, I thought I could (win) because we’ve noticed he (It’s A Dundeel) had to straighten before he really sprinted home and Michael thought we’d nick off a little quicker and leave him a bit flat footed on the bend,” Kavanagh said.
“The Derby has always been on the agenda after his first start and he has taken a bit of tweaking, he got blocked in on the rails a couple of times, but he is peaking at the right time.”
Being asked to come from last in a moderately-run race proved too much of a task for It’s A Dundeel, who had won his previous five starts including the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes.
He loomed to win rounding the home bend, but couldn’t reel in Super Cool, who enjoyed a sweet run in fourth spot and took control of the race just before straightening.
A length was as close as It’s A Dundeel, the $1.35 favourite, got in the straight with Super Cool ($9) edging away late to score by 1-3/4 lengths with Viking Star ($14) the same distance away third.
Rodd said Super Cool had always been a horse of nice ability and, while still immature, he was delighted to see him string it all together a week out from the $1.5 million Derby.
“About a month ago he’d only won his maiden at Seymour so he’s come a very long way in a short amount of time,” Rodd said.
“This isn’t going to be his preparation, he is a horse that will be better with the experience under his belt, but he is up and running and you’ve got to push on.
“Today would’ve really topped him off nicely for next week.”
Story by Brad Bishop