LAST season’s top Tasmanian two-year-old pacer Ogrady returned to wining form with a sensational win in the Betfair 3YO over 1609 metres at Tattersall’s Park in Hobart on Sunday night.
Ogrady produced a Herculean performance to get up in the last stride to defeat Gedlee and Left Loaded in a race that could be a serious guide to this season’s Tasmanian Derby.
The Christian Salter-trained gelding was dubbed the “Gentle Giant’ last season when he towered over most of his rivals standing a tad under 17 hands and he has since grown almost another hand.
It was his third start this preparation but one that has stamped him one of the state’s most promising three-year-olds.
“He is still dong a few things wrong in his races but that’s only a maturing process we have to wear,” said the gelding’s owner-breeder Noel Salter, who also is president of the Tasmanian Pacing Club.
Ogrady settled back in the field while the long odds-on favourite Thirsty Mach (Gavin Lang) led with Left Loaded at his wheel to ensure an honest pace.
When Christian Salter eased Ogrady out three-wide to make his run at the bell he was left to lead the three-wide line.
He looked to be struggling on the home turn but that was exaggerated because he was hanging in, which forced Salter to stop driving and steer him off the horses on his inside.
But once balanced ain the straight he knuckled down to his task and hit the line full of running to score by a half-metre.
“The horse has taken a while to come to hand this preparation,” Salter said.
“He’s not been all that tractable but that’s because he’s still growing into himself.”
“Considering how he raced he has done a great job to run the time he did, running home his last half (800m) in 58.4 but fro where he was in spotting the leader at least 15 metres near the turn he’s probably run home his last half in about 57 seconds,” Salter said.
Ogrady’s mile rate of 1.58 was a 3YO class record on the Hobart track.
Salter confirmed the major three-year-old races were on the agenda for O’Grady.
“Obviously we are looking at the Tasmania Derby but we’ll have to wait and see how he’s going before we firm up any plans to tackle the Australian Derby in Launceston,” he said.
The Australian Derby will be run next Month but this year it is before the Tasmanian Derby (in Hobart), not after, as has been the case for the past six years.
Ogrady’s next mission will be a three-year-old feature race in Hobart in a fortnight.