There's a Derby Buzz in Dean's yard
It was THEBUZZDOWNUNDER's second victory through 19 starts, but trainer Brian Dean has already set his sights on loftier goals for the grey galloper in the coming months.
The Australian-bred gelding has recently displayed an appetite for staying races and looked in supreme condition as he took out the $60,000 Class 4 race over 1,800m on Sunday.
Ridden by Manoel Nunes, Thebuzzdownunder flew home from the outside to beat US-bred joint-favourite and long-distance specialist FLIGHT OF THE SAKER, "Harry" Kasim's mount, by almost three lengths with SOUTH GATE (Mark Ewe) battling hard to take third, another half-length away.
"It was a very nice win and he's been a lovely horse," said trainer Dean. "It's always been my intention to step him up in distance and he did very well the last time he ran 1,800m, just losing narrowly to that Cliff Brown horse (My Dancing Duel) in February.
"Today, he proved he can stay and was running on very nicely at the end. I think he has a real chance to become a Derby horse."
The $1.15 million Group 1 Emirates Singapore Derby over 2,000m is the third and final leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge and will be held on July 13.
With no suitable runners, Dean has missed the last two editions of the Derby.
In 2009, he did manage a third-placed finish with Marco Kid (ridden by Mark Gallagher who is now Dean's assistant trainer), although they and the rest of the field were well-beaten by champion stayer Jolie's Shinju from Hideyuki Takaoka's yard.
"I just wanted to get this race out of the way quickly and see how he fared, as I knew he had the ability to keep running on and he showed me he's got plenty of staying ability in him," added Dean, who picked up his 13th winner of the campaign.
It has been hard going for the Australian handler with this just his third victory since the start of March, although he has rarely lost his humour or smile despite the early season struggles.
"I'm sure the family back in Australia will be very pleased with this and it's nice to give them something to celebrate," he chuckled.
With just seven runners jumping from the barriers, there was never any urgency for Thebuzzdownunder to run himself ragged early on and Nunes was content to let Profound (Danny Beasley) lead from the front while keeping his mount in the box seat.
"It was such a small field that I could afford to take my time," said the Brazilian rider and premiership leader. "He travelled so easily for me and has been improving all the time."
With the field clearing the final bend and heading for home, he swung Thebuzzdownunder on the outside. With a clear path to the winning post, it was simply a matter of releasing the handbrakes and letting his mount gallop home.
A four-year-old by Bradbury's Luck out of Infinite and purchased at a steal of just A$8,000, Thebuzzdownunder has chalked up stakes earnings of around $110,000 for Dean.