More Derby success for Cambridge


Cambridge has got another two Derby heroes — Trent Busuttin (pictured) and his fiancée Natalie Young.

Last year it was the father and son partnership of Murray and Bjorn Baker which celebrated success after Lion Tamer raced away with the Group I Victoria Derby. Today at Flemington Busuttin and Young secured their biggest win when Sangster upstaged the better-supported runners to give Cambridge back-to-back wins in the 2500-metre classic.

Though it came four days late, Busuttin could not have wished for a better 32nd birthday present as his faith in Sangster proved well founded. Busuttin had kept celebrations for his birthday last Tuesday low key in the hope of an even better reason to celebrate tonight.

“This is fantastic,” Busuttin told the media which swamped him as Sangster returned to the winner’s enclosure. “I can’t describe the feeling. We set him for this three months out and to have done it is a dream.”

Busuttin is a son of top trainer Paddy Busuttin, whose many Group One wins included a NZ Derby with Casltetown, a Singapore Derby with Bocelli and this year’s Macau Derby with Imabayboy. But Busuttin senior hasn’t won a Victoria Derby — in fact he hasn’t even had a runner in the race.

Trent Busuttin began his training partnership with his father at Cambridge and the highlights included a Group II City Of Auckland Cup with Six O’Clock News and a Wellington Guineas with Barside.

When his father shifted to Macau , he began training on his own account  then last August he took Young into the training partnership, a move which has been invaluable in helping set Sangster for the Victoria Derby.

With Busuttin constantly crossing the Tasman to keep tabs on Sangster, Young has been caring for the horses at home. But today it was a time for Young and the couple’s young son Ben to be on hand at Flemington to witness the action.

It was a huge gamble Busuttin and Young took in targeting the Victoria Derby as when they headed to Australia with the son of Savabeel the horse was a one-race winner from two juvenile starts.

Sangster won fresh-up over 1200 metres at Warwick Farm on August 23 and he had steadily stepped up in distance for today’s 2500-metre assignment. Along the way he had run second in the Listed Ming Dynasty Handicap at Warwick Farm, failed in the Group III Gloaming Stakes at Rosehill then put his Derby tilt back on track when third in the Group I Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.

Sangster kept his Derby aspirations alive when a gutsy second to Sabrage in the Group III Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October and it was Busuttin and Young’s largest pay day today when picking up the $A1.5 million feature. “It’s been frustrating all the way through, but he’s done it on the right day,” said Busuttin.

As was the case with the Bakers last year, top Australian jockey Hugh Bowman was called in to take the Derby mount. His big-race experience was the telling factor for Sangster’s connections, which include Wellingtonian Tommy Hepinstal, who enjoyed Group I success with Tavistock.

Bowman bounced Sangster out well from his handy draw, but was then forced to race three-wide. “The intention was to ride him quiet and even though weended up three-wide it was with cover and I was happy to be there,” said Bowman. “But I had to use him up from the 600 metres to get around tiring horses and got to the front a lot sooner than I wanted. I knew the distance would suit this guy, but I was concerned the last 50 (metres).”

Busuttin thought his dream of winning the Derby was shattered at the 600 metres after Sangster had been trapped wide all the way. “I thought he was no hope at the 600,” said Busuttin.

With 400 metres to run Sangster ranged up to head Niagara, who had the control rounding the home turn. Manawanui, the favourite, was right in contention, but felt the pinch.

Sangster floated across to the running rail with about 200 metres to run and a late charge from Induna made the final stages very intense. “I didn’t want to yell too soon and when I did at the 100 Induna started coming at him,” said Busuttin.

Busuttin bought Sangster at the 2010 Ready To Run Sale at Karaka for $19,000 and initially kept a share in the horse for himself. But when the influx of interest from owners came he relented and sold on his share. The group of owners, who all met for the first time on the eve of the Victoria Derby, include Hamilton real estate agent David Kneebone, Martin Bradley,  and Kevin O’Brien (both also from Hamilton), Taranaki’s Kevin Greelees, Larry and Travis Stewart, and Hong Kong-based Kiwi Matthew Fenwick, a son of former NZTR Chief Executive Allan Fenwick. .

Sangster’s Savabeel won the Group I Cox Plate and as a sire he has enjoyed Group I success through Scarlett Lady, winner of the Queensland Oaks. Another of his progeny, Dowager Queen, was third to Atlantic Jewel in the Group II Wakeful Stakes, three races before Sangster’s triumph. Sangster’s dam, Quinta Special, was  a winner over the equivalent of 1900 metres in Great Britain.