Well-bred colt Alcyone has broken his maiden and secured a ballot exemption into this year’s Victoria Derby with victory in the Byerley Handicap at Flemington.
By stallion Teofilo out of 2009 Queensland Oaks winner Purple, Alcyone was sent out the $1.95 favourite in Saturday’s 1800m race which provided a staying test for late-season two-year-olds.
Alycone had finished runner-up in two of his first three starts, including the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) at Flemington earlier this month, but was able to go one better on Saturday in defeating Johnny Get Angry by three-quarters of a length.
Shadow Prey was a long neck away third.
Alcyone and the Denis Pagan-trained Johnny Get Angry had filled the minor placings in the Taj Rossi Series Final behind unbeaten Cherry Tortoni who is the current favourite for the Victoria Derby (2500m) for three-year-olds at Flemington this spring at $8 with TAB fixed odds.
The James Cummings-trained Alcyone was second favourite for the Derby at $9 after Saturday’s win.
“He’s a little bit on the green side still, we saw that late in the race, but he was good enough to get the win,” Cummings’s Melbourne stable representative, Sean Keogh, said.
“I think we’re dealing with a big, raw colt at the moment who is well-bred to mature into a nice three-year-old as he’s going forward.”
Alcyone sat one out and one back in the field of eight before looming up three wide and hitting the front early in the home straight.
He rolled in towards the rail after hitting the front and even though Johnny Get Angry got within three-quarters of a length, jockey John Allen said he felt Alcyone still had a bit up his sleeve if seriously challenged.
“He travelled well,” Allen said.
“I had the front two covered and I didn’t want to get to the front too soon because he’s a bit lairy and he just had a look around when he got there.
“I felt he waited for them a bit and even though he didn’t win by a big margin, I felt like I had a bit left, to be honest.”