Wymark continued his winning form with success in the Gr.2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.  Photo: bradleyphotos.com.au

Wymark stakes Derby claim in Tulloch

NZ Racing Desk
30 March 2024

Wymark’s connections are likely to pay a late nomination fee for next week’s Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) after the rapidly improving three-year-old collected his fourth win in a row in Saturday’s Gr.2 Toyota Forklifts Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.

The Randwick classic was not originally on the radar for the Savabeel gelding, who began his career with six consecutive top-four finishes over distances ranging from 1200m to 1500m.

But the step up over ground has lifted the talented New Zealand-bred to another level, beginning with a maiden victory over 1600m at Newcastle in February. He won by nine and a half lengths over 1850m in his next appearance at the same venue, then beat older horses in a 1900m race at Rosehill on March 16.

On Saturday he did it again in the Tulloch – a race that has produced five Derby winners since 2017 with Jon Snow, Levendi, Angel Of Truth, Quick Thinker and Major Beel.

“We’ll probably have to pay that late entry fee for the Derby now – it’s a big carrot dangling there,” Wymark’s trainer Michael Freedman said. “This race has been a great guide to the Derby in recent years.

“He’s bred to run a mile and a half, and I thought he ran a very solid 2000m there on a day where the track might be favouring on-pace runners a little bit.

“He’s done a great job. Now we’ll look forward to him hopefully having a good week and backing up next Saturday.

“I ballsed it up with this horse and thought he’d be a miler or 1400m horse. I sent him up to the Gold Coast for the A$250,000 Magic Millions Maiden race there, thinking he might not have many chances to run for A$250,000. He ran well that day for fourth over 1400m, but since we’ve stepped his distances up, he’s relished it and made me look like an idiot.”

Wymark completed back-to-back stakes wins on the Rosehill card for jockey Tommy Berry, who had previously won the Gr.3 Hyland Race Colours Baillieu (1400m) aboard fellow Kiwi-bred Linebacker.

Wymark settled in sixth place among a strung-out Tulloch Stakes field, then Berry switched him out at the turn to make his run down the centre of the track. He quickly overpowered the front-running Kintyre and stretched out stylishly to score by three-quarters of a length over Noisy Boy and the New Zealand-bred Saltcoats.

“I came in after his work on Tuesday and I told Michael this horse was oozing confidence,” Berry said. “I said, ‘He won’t get beat on the weekend.’ It was just that bit of work. Last time I said to Michael one wouldn’t get beat, I think it was Stay Inside in the Golden Slipper (Gr.1, 1200m). So that’s how good he’s been going at home.

“He was very enthusiastic today. He doesn’t feel like a horse that has had a heap of runs. He’s feeling really good. But just with how quickly he picks them up and puts them away – even Jay Ford said to me coming back to scale, ‘I felt like I had you a few times, but yours was just waiting for us and then just kept picking up and going away.’ So he’s got a few more gears there.

“I’m not saying he’ll win, but he will be mighty hard to beat in the Derby. I haven’t ridden a stayer that has given me a feel like this since The Offer, and he was just good the whole way through. So he’s pretty good.”

If Wymark backs up into next Saturday’s Derby, he will attempt to deliver back-to-back wins in the race for Savabeel, who sired last year’s winner Major Beel.

Wymark was bred by Waikato Stud and is out of Pasadena, an unraced O’Reilly full-sister to multiple Group One winner Alamosa. The Savabeel – O’Reilly cross has produced 32 stakes winners, including

Major Beel. Wymark was purchased at the Gold Coast yearling sales by bloodstock agent Mick Wallace for A$200,000. 

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