Chris Waller (Image: Racing Photos)

Kukeracha wins Queensland Derby

29 May 2021

Explosive Jack narrowly failed in his attempt at a fourth derby win for the season after finishing a game third behind the Chris Waller-trained pair Kukeracha and Senor Toba in Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.

For a few strides inside the 200-metre mark, it appeared history was in the making for Explosive Jack after jockey John Allen switched him off heels to the inside but the Waller pair finished too strongly with James McDonald edging out Hugh Bowman in a torrid finish.

For Waller it was his 15th Group 1 win of the season and his 126th overall and he said Kukeracha had always threatened to win a good race.

“We had a great opinion of him as a two-year-old and he just lost his way a little bit,” Waller told Channel 7.

“Typical story – he was gelded and just taken through the system.

“His run in the Queensland Guineas was good, last start in the Rough Habit was good and today was brilliant.”

McDonald admitted that of the six Waller runners in the race, he would have selected the runner-up Senor Toba if he had the choice.

McDonald all but finished the race for the leading Group 1 rider for the season as he is now three winners clear on eight with just a handful Queensland Group 1s remaining, Explosive Jack ran the $2.60 favourite with Kukeracha at $11 and Senor Toba the second favourite at $6.

– Andrew Eddy,