Sixth in the Group I VRC Victoria Derby in the spring, three year-old Casino Prince gelding Escado has blossomed with maturity to score a resounding win in the Group I SAJC South Australian Derby at Morphettville on Saturday.

Prepared at Mornington by Matt Laurie, Escado has made steady progress this preparation and was supported at odds in the betting from $21 into $14.

Ridden a treat by Ben Melham from barrier one, he forged cler over the concluding stages to win the 2500 metre staying test by nearly two lengths.

“(It was) a great ride,” Laurie told Sky Racing World. “I didn’t think the horse was going quite as well as leading into the Melbourne (Victoria) Derby.

“I saw Ben was just sitting patiently a long way out and he just needed a bit of room. I put the blinkers on today to get a bit more sharpness. He hadn’t showed that for a while. It’s fantastic.

“He’s (Melham) in great form. He’s a great jockey, a great mate. I’m just pleased we have just been able to do it as a combination.”

Escado runs for a big group of 10 owners and has the overall record of three wins and five placings from 14 starts with prizemoney in excess of $430,000.

Passed in at the 2011 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Escado is the first foal of minor winning Giant’s Causeway (USA) mare Secret Cause, a half-sister to Chilean Group II winner Pleasant Secret.

Secret Cause was covered by Casino Prince again last spring, but unfortunately missed.

Escado is the third stakes-winner for Patinack Farm based Casino Prince joining All Too Hard and Longport.

The Group I winning son of Flying Spur is the leading Australian Second Season Sire by earnings.