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Co. Cork-born jockey Johnny Allen won his third South Australian Derby with this morning’s victory aboard race favourite Russian Camelot in the 2500m (1m 4½f) $400,000 Group 1 centrepiece at Morphettville, Adelaide.
The Victoria-based rider and the Irish-bred Danny O’Brien-trained colt, a son of Coolmore’s 2012 Investec Derby winner Camelot, defeated Dalasan by one-and-three-quarter lengths with the winner of the Victoria Derby, Warning, a further length behind in third.
Corkman Allen, who previously won the race on the Darren Weir-trained horses Howard Be Thy Name (2016) and Volatile Mix (2017), kept the favourite wide throughout the contest, and was hugely impressed with Russian Camelot’s performance, in this the colt’s third win, admitting:
“Obviously, he’s an exceptional horse. A lot’s been made of his preparation, but I think the bigger factor is he’s still six months younger than these horses. If he can beat them now, when he’s only just turned three, imagine what he can in six months or a year’s time.”
Russian Camelot, the first northern hemisphere-bred colt to win a Derby in Australia, crept into the race from his wide berth rounding the home turn, moving into the lead in the final 150 metres, and putting daylight between himself and his rivals.
There was a sting in the bail for the Irishman, however, following his 9th Australian Group 1 success, when stewards found him guilty of careless riding early in the race. Allen was deemed to have tightened Exalted Ambition as he moved the favourite inwards towards the rail at the 2000 metre mark.
As a result, he has been suspended for five South Australian meetings, starting after next Saturday’s Group 1 meeting at Morphettville.
Russsian Camelot was the final part of a Saturday treble for Allen who had earlier won the Group 3 TAB SA Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m (7f) with Ringbolt and the Listed 1600m (1 mile) Adelaide Galvanising Adelaide Guineas on Game Keeper.
After this morning’s impressive win, Russian Camelot has been promoted to favourite for the 2020 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on 3rd November.