Gai Wins First ATC Australian Derby With Major Beel

Her legendary father T J Smith won the ATC Derby nine times but incredibly, Gai Waterhouse made it a first win in the Sydney classic with Major Beel on Saturday.

Waterhouse has captured most of the Group 1 races in her hometown but the Australian Derby (2400m) had eluded her and Tim Clark, who does much of the riding for Tulloch Lodge, was rapt to be the one to deliver it.

“Massive thrill to win a race like this and give Gai her first (Derby),” Clark said.

“I’ve been able to win a couple of races to give Gai her first, but there’s not a lot she hasn’t won. It’s nice to tick this box.

“Obviously the support I get from Gai and Adrian (Bott), I wouldn’t be here without them. It’s a bit of payback for them.”

Neither Waterhouse or co-trainer Bott were on course for the milestone win.

Waterhouse watched the race from her house in the NSW Southern Highlands, while Bott was at Randwick earlier in the day but left to attend his sister’s wedding at nearby Watson’s Bay.

“My sister just got married just then, I stepped out of the ceremony and we won the Derby so beautiful,” Bott said from the wedding.

“Probably coming into this preparation, it was sort of a question mark over his staying abilities but after his run in the Tulloch (Stakes) I was confident.

“The last variable was the (heavy) track today and fortunately, he excelled in it.”

Waikato Stud bred Major Beel and have a stake in his ownership and it was a big day for them with their stallion Savabeel siring a Group 1 double in the Derby winner and T J Smith Stakes victor I Wish I Win.

In a rough result, Major Beel ($31) held on to score by three-quarters of a length over Virtuous Circle ($19) with Suizuro ($41) the same margin away third.

The $3.90 favourite Sharp ‘N’ Smart made late ground but never looked the winner, jockey Hugh Bowman saying he wasn’t comfortably on the wet conditions.

“He had a beautiful run in a stop-start affair and was in the right spot. I don’t think he let down on the heavy track,” Bowman said.

– RAS NewsWire

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