Infantry rings in further Derby success for Tavistock

9 Jul 2017


Tavistock's repuatation as New Zealand's siring king of Derby winners has grown in the wake of Infantry's brilliant win in Sunday's Singapore Derby.

The Sir Patrick and Justine, Lady Hogan-bred four-year-old proved far superior to his rivals in the Kranji feature, becoming the latest name on an illustrious list consisting of Victorian Derby winner Tarzino, Australian Derby winner Tavago and Hong Kong Derby winner Werther.

The win was gleefully received at Cambridge Stud, with Sir Patrick hailing the potency of his boom stallion Tavistock.

"He's done it again," the Cambridge Stud boss said.

"My focus this weekend had been on the All Blacks so I really hadn't paid much attention to what was going on in Singapore but this result is a fantastic. Alwin Tan was done a terrific job with this horse but then again, he had the right product to be working with.

"It's just great for Tavistock and more proof of the incredible job he's doing at stud. To win four different Derbies - the biggest Classic races in three different countries - is no mean feat. And as we've been saying all along, the best is yet to come. He's served his best quality book of mares in the last two seasons so the future looks bright."

Infantry powered away to an emotional win for both trainer Alwin Tan and jockey Manoel Nunes in the $S1.15 million 2000m showpiece.

The race had been an elusive prize for the reigning Singapore champion trainer in his eight years at Kranji, coming agonisingly close once when War Affair lost to Quechua in a head bobber in 2015.

Nunes, Singapore’s three-time champion jockey, does have one Singapore Derby win to his name, courtesy of the outstanding Spalato in 2014 but the Brazilian hoop joined Tan in describing Infantry’s Derby success as an even more memorable career highlight.

“I’ve been very confident all along as I could feel he was in the best form of his life,” Nunes said.

“I galloped him on Saturday and Tuesday, and I told Joe (D’Zulkifliy), Alwin’s assistant-trainer that he would win the Derby. I know this horse really well and he gave me such great confidence. Today, he just showed me where to go. He is so professional.

“In the running, I even told Danny [Beasley on Lim’s Cruiser] what a lovely position I was in. He’s a horse that doesn’t like to be chased or held back and today everything was perfect.

“At the 700m, I had a lot of horse under me, and when the gaps opened, he just pulled away to a big break. He got a bit tired in the end but he had enough left in the tank to last it out.”

As tears welled up his eyes at the winner’s enclosure, barely able to maintain his composure, Tan probably wished he could just go and pop the champagne. The Singapore Derby was finally his and he could now finally exorcise the ghosts of that War Affair defeat.

“This is the biggest race I’ve ever won. I can’t find words to describe how I’m feeling now,” he said.

“All I can say is that I’m very happy and also for the Thai owners who came here to support the horse. This horse has such a big heart, he always does his best and throughout his prep I was satisfied with his work.

“Like I’ve said before, I gave him a lot of endurance work, more than the two other horses [Nova Strike, who ran third, and Absolute Miracle, who ran eighth], and it’s obviously paid off.

“When Infantry drew six, I was even more confident as we were hoping for anything from five to eight, and here I have to thank my wife for her lucky hand at the draw.

“From barrier six, I didn’t have to tell Nunes what to do as he knows the horse so well. When they landed in fifth or sixth on the rails, I knew they would have a good chance.”

Cambridge Stud sold Infantry for $7000 at the 2013 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare & Mixed Bloodstock Sale at Karaka.

Infantry has won nearly $S1.4 million in prizemoney.

New Zealand bred gallopers have now won 6 of the past 8 Singapore Derbys. – Staff writer, Singapore Turf Club