If Testa Rossa 3yo Teronado reaches his grand final, the BMW Australian Derby at Royal Randwick on April 12, rest assured he will handle the gruelling 2400-metre trip of The Championships event.
His sire Testa Rossa may have one of the favourites for the 1200m Golden Slipper in Unencumbered but this gelding is on route to become his sire’s second Derby winner.
“He’s bred to stay and he’s given that indication all the way along that the further it gets the easier it’ll get for him,” said veteran Gold Coast horseman Bruce Hill. “He’s bred to be an out-and-out stayer and we’ve just been lucky to date he’s been able to win a few shorter ones.”
Hill knows a thing or two about preparing stayers; the Kiwi joined the Geoff Murphy stable on leaving New Zealand and looked after the likes of superstars Grosvenor, Sovereign Red and 1982 Melbourne Cup winner Gurner’s Lane. He also worked as foreman for Gerald Ryan for many years but has since had plenty of training success in his own right.
Teronado, a rapidly-improving Testa Rossa gelding from the Nassipour mare Nassi Doll, has had 10 starts for three wins and three placings. His past two runs have put him on the radar for the BMW Australian Derby on the opening day of The Championships.
The gelding rattled home for fifth in the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes at Flemington over 1400 metres on February 15. He again stormed home for fifth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas over 1600m at Flemington on March 1, beaten just 1.8 lengths by Shamus Award.
“His two Melbourne runs were terrific,” Hill said. “He was a bit unlucky in the Australian Guineas. They went slow up front and that made it hard for him but he was still able to get home well.”
Hill plans to run Teronado in the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas over 1600m on March 15 and the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas over 2000m on March 29 before tackling the Derby.
“He’ll only go to the Derby if I’m really happy with him,” he said. “I won’t go just to make up the numbers. He’d have to run well in his next couple. I still don’t believe he’s fully matured yet.”
Hill has top Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt, who has ridden Teronado in his past two starts, in his corner for the Sydney campaign: “Craig said he was going to stick with him right through,” Hill claimed. “He’s been real happy with him and he’s sort of worked him out pretty well.”
Hill said Teronado had shown above-average ability from the moment he arrived in his stable – and has the potential to be among the best he had trained: “He was a little bit hard to educate and took a while to pick things up but he’s always shown the raw ability,” he said. “He’d have to be one of the better ones I’ve trained, that’s for sure.”