Ronaldo Looking To Deliver Prentice's Derby Dream

28 April 2021 | Tim Walker

The Sky Racing-WA Derby (2536m) is the race trainer Justin Prentice wants to win.

He has a Pacing Cup, two WA Oaks and a Golden Slipper.

He came so close to winning the derby last year with Major Martini, a horse he rates as the best he’s had.

Mighty Ronaldo delivered him his Golden Slipper triumph last year.

On Friday night he will be out to give his trainer his first success in a race he desperately desires.

Standing in his way of victory are two standout three-year-olds in Lavra Joe and Jumpingjackmac and a support cast which all look to have their fair share of ability.

Mighty Ronaldo has claimed the scalp of Lavra Joe already this campaign when he led throughout the 3YO colts and geldings Sales Classic in February.

He was then unplaced in the Caduceus Club Classic (2130m) and Western Gateway (2536m).

Prentice said Mighty Ronaldo’s next two starts in the Battle of Bunbury (2100m) on April 10 and at Gloucester Park on April 16 gave him the confidence that his star three-year-old was on track for Friday’s Group 1.

“I was struggling to hold him in behind the wall he was stuck behind (at Gloucester Park),” Prentice told TABradio.

“I would’ve like to see daylight just to give him a blowout.

“We wouldn’t have caught Jumpingjackmac as he was too far in front.

“I was probably more impressed with his run at Bunbury.

“That was probably as good as he’s ever gone and (Gary Hall) Junior was really happy with him.

Mighty Ronaldo will be out to become the first horse since Beaudiene Boaz to win the WA Derby a year after winning the Golden Slipper.

Beaudiene Boaz completed that double across 2014 and 2015.

Prentice said he had higher expectations for Major Martini, who won the Western Gateway prior to his runner-up finish in the WA Derby last year.

“I thought Major Martini was the best horse I’ve ever had,” he said.

“I thought Major Martini could do things that other horses I’ve hadn’t been able to do before.

“It was pretty painful and I still haven’t been able to watch the replay and I don’t think I ever will.

“I had a few hiccups with Major Martini that I was stressing about.

“So far this guy’s campaign we are looking to peak for the Derby.

“I think the harder they go the more it will suit him.”

Prentice conceded it would be hard to beat Jumpingjackmac, who Gary Hall Snr said was the best three-year-old he’s trained, and Lavra Joe but said he was confident his charge would acquit himself well.

“Obviously Lavra Joe is as good a three-year-old as we’ve ever seen,” he said.

“You have to take Senior’s word for it … he said his bloke is as good, if not better than, them.

“Although he didn’t look as impressive last start like Lavra Joe has, Lavra Joe hasn’t come off the track yet either.

“They’re two outstanding horses and maybe we aren’t quite good enough to beat those two but hopefully with the right draw and right run we will be.”

Listen to Prentice on TABradio below:



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