The History of the SA Derby at Morphettville Racecourse at a Glance
The SA Derby is a Group 1 race for three-year-olds that takes place annually in early May at Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide, South Australia during the Adelaide autumn racing carnival. The race is run over a distance of 2500 metres under set weight conditions and is worth $500 000 in prize money.
The SA Derby is the premier staying race for three-year-olds during the autumn racing carnival in Adelaide and the 2500m distance of the race provides a true staying test for those 3 year old gallopers. The set weight conditions of the race gives a distinct advantage to the best three-year-old performers in the race. Competitive three-year-old colts & geldings who contested the Group 3 Chairmans Handicap the previous week at Morphettville will likely tackle this event, while Fillies who contested the Group 1 Australasian Oaks earlier in the carnival may decide to take on the males in this race.
The SA Derby Has a Rich History
The SA Derby generally attracts above average three-year-olds and over the years has provided a Caulfield Cup winner with Mummify (2003) winning the 2003 Caulfield Cup and then finishing third the following year in 2004. Also, Count Chivas (1995) and Shivas Revenge (1991) both went on to run second in a Melbourne Cup after winning this race. Subzero (1992) was good enough to win the most famous race the same year he won the SA Derby. More recently Rebel Raider (2009) scored an upset win in the 2008 AAMI Victoria Derby at Flemington before thrashing his rivals in this race the following autumn.
Ggalloper Werther (2nd in 2015) travelled to Brisbane, Queensland to win the weight-for-age Gr2 PJ O’Shea Stakes at Doomben after finishing second in the SA Derby.
Delicacy (2015) won the Australasian Oaks over 2000m prior to winning this event in stylish fashion and recent SA Derby winners include Kushadasi (2014) and Escado (2013).
SA Derby in More Detail
The race is held during the occasion of the Adelaide autumn racing carnival. The race, itself, has a 2500 metre start that is positioned in front of the grandstand in the home straight. Barriers are of little importance due to the distance involved, but it is interesting to note that three of the past 20 winners started from the outside gate 16 and two from barrier 15, but an inside gate is still preferred with 9 of the last 20 winners starting inside barrier 6.
Held over a variety of distances since its inception in 1860, when won by a horse named Midnight, the current 2500m trip for the SA Derby was settled on in 2001. Previously, the race had been elevated to its Group 1 status in 1979 with Top Ware winning the first held as a Group 1 race.
The race is the premier staying race for three-year-olds during the Adelaide Racing Carnival and attracts South Australia’s leading performed, who will usually have performed throughout the carnival, as well as raiders from Sydney and Melbourne. The lead up to the South Australian Derby includes running in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes over 2000m, held a week early on Australasian Oaks day at Morphettville.