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Scientific approach delivers Hitotsu another Derby


Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have prepared the Maurice colt to a VRC Derby (2500m) win in the spring and on Saturday he took out the ATC Derby (2400m) – all in the space of three runs.That just doesn’t happen, unless you’re a unique horse and Maher explained how he knew he could do things differently with Hitotsu. “It’s easy when you’ve got a horse like that and his data reflected it. His recovery was always instant from any piece of work we did with him,” Maher said. “He’s got a great set of lungs, is relaxed and doesn’t overdo it and you can put him where you want and his has a beautiful action. It’s all of those things put together. “He was third-up in the spring because he needed an extra run to know what he was doing but second-up this time wasn’t a problem.”Despite having just one lead-up run in the Australian Guineas (1600m), which he won, Hitotsu was able to win a three-horse war at the end of 2400m as he defeated Benaud by a long neck with Alegron close behind in third. It looked like Benaud was going to defeat Hitotsu at the 300m when he headed him but the fighting qualities of the winner shone through. “Ever doubt he could do it? No I didn’t. I just thought he was better this prep than last prep. He’s stronger and all his starts had suggested that,” Maher said. “The unknown was the track but I thought his quality would get him there. About the 200(m), I thought maybe the quality is not going to be enough but that’s just it, he’s all quality the horse. “Johnny Allen, he’s got a lot of faith in him and you couldn’t get a stronger rider than Johnny. “I think he won last year’s Derby by the skin of your teeth and he’s done it again here today so fantastic.”Maher said it actually helped when Hitotsu got a bump at the 150m when wedged between Benaud and Alegron.“It probably spurred him on a bit,” Maher said. “The team have done a super job and it’s great when a plan like that comes off. To win two derbies in one season is phenomenal.”Maher said Hitotsu would be spelled now despite having just two runs this time in.His focus is on the Australasian weight-for-age championship in the spring.“We will get him ready for the Cox Plate now,” Maher said.John Allen praised Hitotsu’s will to win.“I was surprised when he (Benaud) came off my back and probably put a good neck on me, but he’s just tough this horse he showed his fighting qualities. He really had to dig in to win the (Australian) Guineas and once again today,” Allen said. Benaud’s jockey Brenton Avdulla couldn’t ask any more of his horse.“He gave me a great ride. I thought we were the winner at the 300m. Really proud of him. Fully credit to John O’Shea and the team to have him spot on grand final day,” Avdulla said. 2022 AUSTRALIAN DERBY RESULT

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