Chris Waller finally conquered one of the few remaining Group 1 races missing from his trophy cabinet. Riff Rocket, ridden masterfully by James McDonald, stormed to victory in the 2024 Australian Derby results, solidifying Waller’s place as a racing legend.

2024 Australian Derby winner Riff Rocket

Riff Rocket completed the 2024 Rosehill Guineas – Australian Derby double with a narrow win for the punters in the latter at Randwick. Photo: Steve Hart.

The victory marked a historic moment, with Riff Rocket becoming only the fourth horse to achieve the coveted interstate Derby double (Victoria Derby & Australian Derby). He joins an elite company alongside Dulcify, Mahogany, and the other most recent Hitotsu (2021/22).

The American Pharoah gelding had been enjoying a phenomenal lead-up to the Derby. Fresh off wins in two of his three autumn starts, including the Rosehill Guineas, he was primed for a strong showing.

This time around, with McDonald back in the saddle after their successful partnership in the VRC Derby last November, Riff Rocket thrived over the 2400m distance. McDonald executed a brilliant ride, holding his position close to the inside and saving crucial ground throughout the race.

This strategy proved decisive in the thrilling final stretch. Riff Rocket found the perfect opening, surging past the brave frontrunner, Glad You Think So (a surprise $91 outsider trained by John Sargent), and holding off the late charge by Ceolwulf.

Despite starting as the favourite ($2.20), the victory wasn’t without its challenges. Ceolwulf, trained by Joe Pride, forced Riff Rocket to work hard, mirroring their previous encounter in the Rosehill Guineas where Ceolwulf finished runner-up. Again, Riff Rocket wouldn’t be denied.

Glad You Think So, with a commendable on-pace performance, held on for a distant third place, completing the Australian Derby trifecta.

This victory adds another feather to Waller’s already impressive cap, etching his name even deeper in racing history as a 160-time Group 1 winning trainer.

2024 Australian Derby Results

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 1 RIFF ROCKET Chris Waller James McDonald 8 56.5kg $2.20F
2 3 CEOLWULF (NZ) Joseph Pride Blake Shinn 0.34L 4 56.5kg $7
3 9 GLAD YOU THINK SO John Sargent Ms Rachel King 4.47L 3 56.5kg $91
4 2 TOM KITTEN James Cummings Adam Hyeronimus 5.13L 2 56.5kg $7
5 6 IMMEDIACY (NZ) Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young Luke Currie 6.01L 11 56.5kg $10
6 4 CAP FERRAT Chris Waller Nash Rawiller 6.03L 5 56.5kg $14
7 7 WYMARK (NZ) Michael Freedman Tommy Berry 6.13L 12 56.5kg $6.50
8 8 NOISY BOY Todd Howlett Jay Ford 9.12L 6 56.5kg $31
9 5 GANBARE Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Tim Clark 9.59L 1 56.5kg $21
10 10 ADAGIO Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Regan Bayliss 12.4L 9 56.5kg $81
11 11 ZENMASTER Craig Carmody Chad Schofield 24.66L 7 56.5kg $201
12 12 HOOLIGAN TOMMY (NZ) John Sargent Jason Collett 29.84L 10 56.5kg $61
14 ZARDOZI James Cummings Ms Jamie Kah 0
13 SAXON BRAVE Daiki Chujo Joshua Parr 0

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

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About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.