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Rocket powers home to win New Zealand Derby - Inglis

The stellar run of success being enjoyed by Inglis graduates continued in New Zealand on Sunday with Inglis Easter Yearling Sale colt Rocket Spade a determined winner of the G1 New Zealand Derby in testing conditions at Ellerslie.


Rocket Spade was purchased at Easter for $425,000 by Hermitage Thoroughbreds/Wexford Stables and continues the extraordinary association Hermitage has with Australasia’s best yearling sale, with other recent purchases from Easter including top-class performers The Autumn Sun, Egg Tart, Summer Passage, Dragon Leap, Wu Gok and Spring Heat as well as hugely exciting prospect April Rain.

The son of Fastnet Rock, a short-priced favourite on the back of a pair of G2 wins since the turn of the year, looked to have found himself in an impossible position when buried away towards the rear approaching the home turn.


Image - Rocket Spade as a yearling


However, jockey Craig Grylls wove a passage to the inside of rivals and his mount proved hugely determined through the closing stages to take out the NZ$1m contest in a tight finish.


Rocket Spade is the 58th G1 winning graduate of Inglis sales since 2018 and is one of 18 G1 winning colts to graduate from Inglis sales in that period, 80% more than graduates of the nearest competitor.

Rocket Spade also becomes the 13th G1 winner by Coolmore’s champion sire Fastnet Rock to emerge from the Easter Yearling Sale.


The win of Rocket Spade continues a glorious run of success being enjoyed by Tyreel Stud, who offered the colt at the 2019 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale on behalf of his breeder Sun Stud.


“I remember when the yearlings arrived from Sun Stud that year and I was delighted,” said Tyreel’s Linda Monds.


“They were a well-grown, athletic group of horses and when they look as they did, it really does make the job at the sales much easier!


“Rocket Spade was always the pick of them, he was a favourite amongst the staff as he had a lovely demeanour, so it’s great to see him go on and develop into a top-class racehorse,” said Monds.


The team at Tyreel are now looking forward with great anticipation to the 2021 renewal of the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale, with graduates of the farm in the last 12 months including the likes of Classique Legend, Behemoth and Montefilia, as well as Rocket Spade.


“Obviously we are extremely grateful for the support we have received from buyers over the years and as a vendor, you hope your horses end up with good people and we have been lucky in that regard,” noted Monds.