Trainer Chris Waller celebrated yet another Group 1 quinella with Kukeracha posting an upset win over stablemate Senor Toba in a thrilling photo-finish in Brisbane’s Queensland Derby 2021 results.
For the 21st time, Waller enjoyed preparing at least the first two horses past the post in a Group 1 race as the season’s best jockey James McDonald guided the progressive Night Of Thunder gelding Kukeracha to a narrow win in this year’s Group 1 $600,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
Two champion hoops battled it out the closing stages with McDonald and Hugh Bowman both presenting their mounts at the right time, but it was the run closer to the inside that secured the title.
Bowman had to work to get the better-fancied Senor Toba into position early from the outside alley in the Queensland Derby field, and the grey was so brave in defeat.
The winning quinella both came out of Doomben’s Group 3 Rough Habit Plate with Kukeracha improving on his second in the traditional Derby lead-up when also beating home Senor Toba (3rd) by one on May 15.
The beaten favourite, the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Explosive Jack, was far from disgraced rounding out the trifecta in third having won the Tasmanian Derby – Australian Derby – South Australian Derby this season.
Of the on-speed runners Achiever, also from the Waller stable, was the best finisher rounding out the first four.
The victory gave Waller a second Queensland Derby success after his 2013 win with Hawkspur.
“To both the horses’ credit, they’ve done a fantastic job,” Waller told the media post-win.
“We had a great opinion of him (the winner) as a two-year-old. He lost his way a little bit…he was gelded.
“Today was brilliant.
“I’ve got a lot of great moments. I’m very lucky to be in the position I’m in.”