Oh, Danny boy | Gus Underwood’s Sport Snaps - May 13

By Kyabram Free Press

Danny O’Brien has been spruiking the virtues of this galloper for a few months now.

After last Saturday those who weren’t listening and those who may have thought Danny was getting carried away a bit too soon are now all ears.

The galloper the Kyabram-raised and Flemington-based horse trainer was referring to is Russian Camelot, a three-year-old who claimed the South Australian Derby in stunning style at Morphettville.

Three wide at the rear of the field for a good part of the testing 2500m trip, Russian Camelot arrogantly looped the field in the concluding stages when asked by his Irish jockey John Allen to score a runaway win in the Group One $400,000 feature.

Russian Camelot accounted for classy galloper Dalasan, unbeaten in five starts previously on the track, and the Victoria Derby winner Warning.

The Hayes-Dabernig filly from Euroa, Zayydani, finished fourth.

All this happened with the Northern Hemisphere-bred Russian Camelot giving six months start in age to his rivals, as well as considerable race experience.

There was also scepticism that missing a vital workout and going into the race third up from a long spell wasn’t an ideal preparation for the gruelling distance of the Derby, although these factors were never of any major concern for his confident trainer.

Danny was quick to point out Russian Camelot’s dad, Camelot, had won an English Derby second up from spell.

Russian Camelot was having just his fifth start and was stepping up from a win over 1600m, when he brained his rivals at Pakenham, to the challenging 2500m.

The colt became the first Northern Hemisphere-bred galloper to a win a derby in Australia.

He was instantly installed as the early favourite for the Melbourne Cup in November, but Danny has not committed to targeting that race.

Russian Camelot’s win has capped a huge season for Danny, the former Kyabram St Augustine’s primary school student, who has the Melbourne Cup, the Victoria Oaks and the Adelaide Cup triumphs to his seasonal resume.

Danny now boasts 19 group one wins, including the other highly sought after Victorian feature races in the Blue Diamond for two-year-olds and the Caulfield Cup.

Danny returned to his home town in November last year to display the Melbourne Cup, which he had won earlier in the month with Vow And Declare.

● Kyabram isn’t the only Goulburn Valley League footy club keeping supporters up to date with a podcast.

Morrison Medallist Mick Mattingly’s weekly podcast interviews with his Kyabram teammates are proving a big hit.

Echuca is also been keeping its fans up to speed, with young stars Tom Monahan and Angus Byrne hosting the Bombertime Podcast.

Mattingly’s latest interviews have been with veteran utility Jason Morgan and classy forward Hayden Gemmill.

Next Sunday, Brad Mangan and Nick Coulstock will be put under the griller by Mick.

● Jason Morgan was put on the spot in his interview, with Mattingly asking him to name the five best Kyabram players in his time with the club.

The four-time best and fairest winner’s number one pick, Paul Newman, was no surprise.

He had last year’s Morrison Medallist Mattingly in at number two, current star defender Lachie Smith at number three, Kayne Pettifer number four and Jordan Williams at number five.

And he issued apologies to Chris Atkins, Tom Sheldon and Kyle Mueller for not being able to squeeze them in.

● Rochester Football Club has re-appointed Nathan Marrone as its senior captain for the 2020 season.

Marrone received the most votes in last year’s Morrison Medal, won by Kyabram’s Mick Mattingly, but was not eligible for the award due to suspension.

The Tigers are not appointing a vice-captain but Marrone will have Mitch Bright, James Gledhill, Nick O’Connor, Will Hamilton and Nathan McCarty in the leadership group.

Xavier Hooppell and Kane Moroney will lead the Rochester reserves while Harry Ward and Angus Martin will be co-captains of the thirds.

● Tongala trained Fullofmischief looks a pacer with his fair share of ability.

A four-year-old gelded son of Major Bronski, Fullofmischief was having only his third career start for trainer Mick Watt at Shepparton last week and delivered the goods in impressive style.

Driven by Damian Wilson, Fullofmischief hit the ground running, took the front and then held off determined challenges from the Danny Ferris-trained and driven favourite Lost For Words and another Tongala-trained pacer, the Gary Merkel-prepared and Royce Nutt-driven Argy Bargy.

Fullofmischief had put the writing on the wall at his only two race starts, which both had produced fourth placings.

● The Central Rivers Football board is reducing the player salary cap of all Central Murray and Golden Rivers football league clubs by 50 per cent.

This action has been taken after the AFL recommended a two stage salary cap reduction across all community football leagues because of season delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

● Picola District Football League club Tocumwal faces a $20,000-plus clean up bill after a wild storm ripped through the Murray River town.

Its $1.3 million clubrooms, built in 2009, suffered extensive damage inside and out from a fallen tree.