Major Beel Stuns Rivals In Dashing Derby Win

First Aussie Derby for champion trainer Gai Waterhouse

Major Beel provided champion trainer Gai Waterhouse with a first win in the Gr1 Australian Derby (2400m) when he scored the gutsiest of wins in Saturday’s three-year-old feature at Randwick.

In a dashing performance, Major Beel and rider Tim Clark withstood all challengers as they powered home to win by almost a length.

A narrow runner-up in last weekend’s Gr2Tulloch Stakes, Major Beel did all today and added his name to an illustrious honour roll that includes some of the legends of Australian racing.

MAJOR BEEL (Savabeel x Gram) wins the G1 AJC Australian Derby. Ridden by Tim Clark. Photo by Bronwen Healy. The Image is Everything – Bronwen Healy Photography.

With co-trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott both absent from Randwick the stable celebrations for the Derby were led by colourful stable representative Neil Paine.

“I know Gai will be watching,” Paine said. “How good Gai you’ve won an ATC Derby!”

“Gai and Adrian picked this horse out, we have got beautiful owners in this horse.”

“We’re all jumping up and down. Adrian is unfortunately not here today because he had a family commitment (sister’s wedding). I’m sure Adrian at the wedding will be going berserk.”

Jockey Tim Clark was the proudest man on course, delighting in winning the race for the first time for the stable.

“He traveled a bit strong throughout because he’s come out of two really fast run races,” Clark pointed out. “Obviously up in trip to a really steady mile and a half, he just over traveled a bit throughout but that was helping him get through the ground.”

“I felt them coming down the side but was just mindful of trying to hold onto him and help him as long as I could. He showed a great turn of foot at the top of the straight.”

“On the line late, the second horse was coming to me, but he really dug in and fought hard like last week. Thankfully he was able to get his head in front today.”

“I was keen to stick hard to the fence because most of the track has been used and chewed up a fair bit. But the inside looked alright cantering around so I thought I’d give it a go.”

Clark was delighted to be able to give Hall of Fame horsewoman Waterhouse with a first win in the Sydney blue riband.

“Massive thrill to win a race like this and give Gai her first,” he 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. I’ve got a really good friend involved in the ownership, so yeah it’s a great thrill.”

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

Major Beel was a A$260,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale buy in 2021 for Waterhouse and Bott in partnership with Bruce Slade’s Kestrel Thoroughbreds.

He was the second winner on today’s massive card for Day One of The Championships sold by Magic Millions following Militarize’s brilliant win in the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes.

Today’s Derby triumph ensured that both this season’s feature blue ribands – run at Flemington and Randwick – were won by three-year-olds sold by Magic Millions.

The son of champion New Zealand based sire Savabeel, who was also a Gold Coast Yearling purchase, was bred at Waikato Stud and capped a massive day for the famous thoroughbred nursery.

Just over half an hour earlier the Chittick family were celebrating the magnificent TJ Smith Stakes win of their star homebred I Wish I Win.

Major Beel is the first runner for his dam, the beautifully bred O’Reilly mare Gram.

Unraced, Gram is a three quarter sister to stakes performer Tommy Gold and half sister to stakes winners Gold Rocks, Gold Fever and Calaverite – the dam of Caulfield Guineas winner Golden Mile.

  • Winner: Major Beel
  • Breeding: Savabeel-Gram (O’Reilly)
  • Breeder: Waikato Stud Ltd
  • Race: ATC Australian Derby G1 (2400m)
  • Sold for: A$260,000
  • Sale: 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale
  • Vendor: Waikato Stud
  • Buyer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott/Kestrel T’breds
  • Earnings: A$1,464,500
  • Owners: Mrs MN Annetts, MJ Chittick, GJ Fisher, Woodburn (Mgr: WP Manning), Miss J Daw, BD Thistleton, MR Stanton, Mrs S Stanton, Ms S Inglis, SE Field, Mrs L De Villecourt & AD Bowler
  • Trainer(s): Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott (Randwick)

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