Two Choices for Victoria Derby
New stakeswinner Extra Choice and Spring Champion placegetter Man Of Choice add a thread of sibling sire rivalry to the many stories leading to the $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby G1 on 31 October.
Redoute’s Choice will be represented by Wednesday’s $120,000 Geelong Classic LR winner Extra Choice who found the 2200-metre distance very much to his liking.
Wearing blinkers for the first time, he was ridden by Ben Melham who managed to slide him quickly from gate 10 over to the fence, a little worse than midfield where he enjoyed a clear run. He came wide around the home turn, but had the space to maintain his momentum and attack the leaders, then finish strongly to score by three-quarters of a length from Jadeer and Pay Up Bro.
Extra Choice, his champion sire’s 126th stakeswinner, has really found his feet this campaign which began with two wins at Pakenham over 1200 & 1400 metres before two unplaced but excusable runs in stakes company at Caulfield on 26 September, and at Flemington on 4 October.
Co-trainer David Hayes says, “Extra Choice always showed a good amount of class, and a lovely action from the moment that we started working him, he was just a bit immature in his first preparation.
“Now that he is a bit more seasoned I think he is a legitimate VRC Derby contender. I expect he will get even better when he turns four.”
Extra Choice was bred by Rochelle & the late Don McLaren and purchased for $60,000 by Mark Pilkington from the Haunui Farm draft at the 2014 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale. His stakes-winning dam Bonaichi (by Fusaichi Pegasus) is a daughter of Group 1 winner Bonanova from a branch of the Eight Carat family that has also left Group winners Sheer Talent and Kittens to Redoute’s Choice.
The gelding is raced by Hayes and Pilkington, with Darren Thomas, Cameron Fisher, Ross McGrath and a syndicate of 40 people whose investment in Extra Choice has been funded by their wonderful veteran campaigner and $1.4 million earner Extra Zero (by Danzero).
Manhattan Rain’s son Man Of Choice will head straight to the Victoria Derby after his excellent second to Vanbrugh in the ATC Spring Champion S. G1 on 10 October.
His trainer Luke Price is well aware of how difficult Flemington’s 2500-metre Classic can be for young horses so early in the season, but believes Man Of Choice can cope with the physical and mental demands of the race.
He says, “He’s such a big, laidback fellow, so willing to work with you, and he’s improved so much from his first preparation. He’s a genuine 3YO stayer.”
Bred by Bob Guth and Nick Curtis, Man Of Choice is out of the Melbourne winner Moonsong, a daughter of Redoute’s Choice from the family of Group 1 winners Ofcourseican & Gimmethegreenlight and Group-winning fillies Gregers & Girl Guide.
The 2×3 inbreeding to Shantha’s Choice achieved by sending a Redoute’s Choice mare to Manhattan Rain has so far produced 11 named foals and four of the current 7 runners have won. Manhattan Rain’s first-crop son Light Up Manhattan was fourth in last year’s Victoria Derby.
Man Of Choice was offered under the Newhaven Park banner at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale and bought for $60,000 by Andrew Rose who races the gelding with his fiancee Korinne Gouriou, Ken Smith, Tazzy & Patricia Pirina, Hinnerk Hueppe & Fabian Welk.