Derby-bound duo firmly in classic contention

Derby-bound duo firmly in classic contention19 Feb 2022

Our G1 New Zealand Derby contenders Pinarello and Marchand have taken contrasting paths to the classic and both delivered confidence-boosting dress rehearsals at Ellerslie.

Pinarello has suffered an interrupted preparation having missed a planned run after a trackwork mishap and was then below par when third at Ruakaka earlier this month.

However, the son of Tavistock relished the step up to 2100 metres in his final Derby lead-up to thump his older opposition and is now a $6 second favourite for the March 5 feature.

Marchand was kept to his own age group and finished a sound third in the G2 Avondale Guineas that didn’t go unnoticed as he’s now kept safe as an $11 Derby chance.

Pinarello settled midfield and one off the fence before rider Vinnie Colgan was on the move 700 metres from home and the gelding let down strongly to bolt home by 4.5l.

“I can’t wipe the smile off my face and it’s a relief – we’ve been telling Brendan and Jo that he was a Derby prospect and he was disappointing at Ruakaka,” co-trainer Robert Wellwood said.

“This was only his fourth run and it was nice to see him do what we thought he could. He relaxed with the blinkers on and he was super impressive, we’re very proud of him.

“He is still learning and we’re hoping he can put his best foot forward in the big dance.”

Colgan’s confidence was boosted by Pinarello’s performance in what was an indifferently run contest.

“He was disappointing at Ruakaka, but that track can trip a few up. The blinkers sharpened him up and in a muddling run race he still got over the top of them and was strong through the line,” he said.

A half-brother to stakes winners Bavella and Vernazza, Pinarello is out of the Zabeel mare Zonza, who won the G3 Ladies’ Day Vase. She has an unraced Tavistock two-year-old filly named Zazon, a yearling daughter of Almanzor headed to Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and was served in 2021 by Bivouac.

Marchand was forced to cover extra ground early after jumping from the outside barrier before he settled one off the fence in fourth spot and boxed on gallantly to run third in Leith Innes’ hands.

“He was a bit wide early and there’s still some improvement to come from him,” trainer Lance Noble said.

Another Cambridge Stud homebred, Marchand is a son of Burgundy and the Encosta De Lago mare Lashed, who won three times at Group 1 level in the Zabeel Classic, New Zealand Stakes and the Waikato International Stakes.