CLIFF Brown certainly hasn’t lost his knack for getting South Australian Derby runners ready.
The Mornington-based trainer saddled up his first runner in the race in over 20 years with the improving talent Yaphet taking his place in the three-year-old staying contest on Saturday 14 May at Morphettville.
Brown has had remarkable success in the Derby having saddled up three winners within five years with Cheviot (1996), Markham (1997) and Blue Murder (2000) saluting during the late 90’s, and once again Brown was right around the mark with his newest talent.
After winning third-up at Sale over 1600m and edging out another handy galloper in So You See, Brown’s Yaphet continued to thrive as he stepped out in trip.
Yaphet settled out the back in a 2000m contest at Caulfield two starts back and rattled home to finish in fourth giving hope that the extra trip of the Derby (2500m) will be to his liking.
Once again, the gelded son of Blackfriars settled at the rear in the Group One contest alongside the unbeaten Detonator Jack. Ridden by Ben Allen, Yaphet rounded up the field turning into the home straight and finished off strongly but just wasn’t able to reel in the Mick Price and Mick Kent-trained Jungle Magnate who showed a good turn of foot to win by one-and-a-half lengths. Yaphet beat off Detonator Jack to hold his place in second.
Brown said he was thrilled with the performance of the improving gelding.
“We were really happy with him, he was tremendous,” Brown said. “We’ve always liked him, he’s a nice horse and is progressive so hopefully there’s exciting times ahead.”
“He’ll go for a break now. He’s had a bit of racing so we’ll see how he spells and bring him back in for the Spring.”
Brown also has The Inferno lining up in another Group One in South Australia on Saturday. The five-year-old son of Holy Roman Emperor will take his place in the $500,000 Goodwood Handicap (1200m).
Brown believes he can improve again after placing a narrow third in the Group 3 D C McKay Stakes (1100m) last start.
“He seems to be going well,” he said. “I thought he was very good last start and think there’s more improvement to come.”