Can Dusty win a Derby?

Racing Desk
9 October 2017

AFL megastar Dustin Martin has enjoyed the perfect season.

The champion Richmond midfielder won the Norm Smith Medal (best on ground in the AFL Grand Final) and a premiership medallion just five days after he took home the Brownlow Medal (best player of the season).

Main Stage Photo: Bruno Cannatelli

The tattooed superstar, with Kiwi origins, will be needing a bigger trophy cabinet after collecting a slew of media awards as well as a second successive club Best & Fairest.

But as the euphoria of a 37-year drought-breaking Richmond Premiership begins to subside and the focus on footy switches to racing, there is a good chance that the man known simply as Dusty will be collecting more trophies.

Martin is a part-owner of the aptly named three-year-old Main Stage through his syndicate Dustys Boys.

A New Zealand-bred son of Reliable Man, Main Stage is on target for a tilt at the A$1.5 million Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m) on November 4.

Trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, Main Stage turned in a stunning Derby trial when winning the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington in a last to first performance.

Making the victory all the better was the fact the saddle slipped.

“It was a massive effort,” Young said. “He’s just a horse that keeps stepping up.

“Each race he keeps getting better and better on the track and he came through the run brilliantly.

“I am starting to really get into AFL and my son is a massive fan of Dusty,” said Young, who along with her partner Busuttin and their two children, made the successful move to Victoria from New Zealand during the winter of 2016.

“I can’t even get my son to wear pyjamas as he is always wearing his Richmond top.”

While Dustin Martin couldn’t be at Flemington on Saturday, fellow owners and Richmond Premiership players Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy were on course to celebrate.  

“Dusty is in Vegas at the moment, so he probably celebrated pretty hard there,” Young said.

Rounding out the Dustys Boys syndicate are Reece Conca, Anthony Miles and Richmond assistant coach Andrew McQualter and Young is hopeful they will be on course to see Main Stage in the Gr.3 Ladbrokes Classic (2000m) at Caulfield on October 21.

"I would love to see Dusty and the boys at the Derby, but I did get a little bit of a whisper that [Richmond Full Forward] Jack Riewoldt is getting married that day," Young said.

Busuttin and Young know what it takes to win a Derby, having prepared Sangster to win the 2011 VRC Derby, while Tavago was successful in last year’s ATC Derby.

The duo has an incredible four runners at odds of $13 or less currently on a path for the VRC Derby, with Main Stage likely to be joined by stablemates Sully, Salsamor and Johnny Vinko in the three-year-old feature.

All four are graduates of New Zealand Bloodstock Sales, with Main Stage and Johnny Vinko purchased from last year’s NZB Ready To Run Sale and providing a quick return for their owners.

With other recent graduates including Gingernuts, Mongolian Khan and Turn Me Loose, it is a fair bet that Busuttin and Young and several of their contemporaries will be back at Karaka on November 22 looking for more quality horseflesh. – NZ Racing Desk.

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