Colt claims the Derby

By Adam Hamilton

OF all Kevin Seymour’s great moments through 50 years in the game, Colt Thirty One’s barnstorming Victoria Derby win topped them all.

It sounds a big call in the moment given he’s won so many big races, most notably an Inter Dominion and Hunter Cup with Mr Feelgood, but the emotions ran deeper with Colt Thirty One for Seymour and his wife, Kay.

“We bred this fella. We watched his first start, we followed him through the grades and Grant (Dixon, trainer-driver) kept telling us he was special,” Seymour said.

“As a two-year-old he told Grant thought he was good enough to take to Sydney for the (Australian) Gold, but things didn’t work out.

“It was always a long range plan to take him to Melbourne for the Derby.

“It’s the first Victoria Derby I’ve won and I can’t recall another Queenslander winning it.”

Just for good measure, most considered this the strongest Victoria Derby for a decade the winning time underlined that.

Colt Thirty One smashed Lazarus’ 2016 race record. His 1min54.2sec mile rate for 2240m took 1.3sec off Lazarus’ time. And it stacked-up well with the 1min52.5sec track record set by Lazarus in the 2016 Victoria Cup.

“Beating Lazarus’ time certainly adds to how the special the win is,” Seymour said.

“Kay and I have been lucky enough to have some great moments in this sport, but this is the best of the lot.”

The fireworks started from the very start when Maraetai, Spankem and unbeaten hot favourite Lumineer burned through a 43.1sec lead time.

To give that perspective, Lazarus’ lead time in that track record Victoria Cup win was only 44.2sec.

It was clear Lumineer and those who burned with him early, were sitting shots.

The All Stars’ The Devils Own launched the three-wide train without cover, Poster Boy grabbed his back and Dixon found away out of a nasty pocket to follow Poster Boy.

They steamrolled past the leaders rounding the home and, just when it seemed Poster Boy was home, Colt Thirty One stormed past him to win by 1.2m with another three metres away to a gallant The Devils Own.

Spankem held on well for fourth after trailing the leader, while Lumineer’s eight-race unbeaten streak ended with a sixth placing.

Colt Thirty One, like many of his rivals, now heads to Sydney for the NSW Derby heats and final on February 17 and 24.

Seymour will bolster his stocks for Sydney with two of his Dixon-trained fillies – Fame Assured (eight starts for six wins and a second) and Aqua Miss (six starts for three wins and two placings) - headed for the NSW Oaks heats.

“Fame Assured is the one everyone is talking about, but we think Aqua Miss is just as good as her. Both of them should be very competitive in Sydney,” he said.

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