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Ballymore calling on history to repeat in NZ Derby

When it comes to winning New Zealand’s ultimate 3YO classic the New Zealand Derby, Ballymore Stables feature prominently on the modern day roll of honour.

First with Great Command in 1996, Ballymore repeated the dose in 2003 with Cut the Cake, and then a year later claimed the blue riband again when champion racehorse Xcellent stole the hearts of many with a dominant winning performance.

The 2014 edition will see the Ballymore name appear alongside Habitual Offender, The Fire Inside and Valdivia in the TV3 Derby field, with the two aforementioned runners assured of a start at Ellerslie on Saturday. Valdivia however requires two scratchings to take her position in the starting gates.

In consultation with senior training partner Mike Moroney, Matamata-based co-trainer Chad Ormsby is in charge of putting the final polish on the team’s strong Derby representation, and the former successful jockey is eagerly anticipating one the biggest days of his training career to date.

“As a jockey I had four rides in the Derby and my best result was second to Jimmy Choux in 2011, but nothing quite compares to having three runners in the racebook with my name alongside them as co-trainer” said Ormsby.

“It’s a buzz and although Ballymore has a strong history of success in the race, it is a real boost for me and my team in just my second season as training partner”.

Should all three horses line up this weekend, Ormsby gives consideration to each being able to claim Ballymore’s fourth NZ Derby title.

“Habitual Offender comes into the race with good form including a win against the older horses at his last start. We know the distance will suit him and from his draw he can take his time to slide across, settle and then be ready to run on strongly at the business end” said Ormsby, who rides many of his team in trackwork.

Similarly, The Fire Inside brings strong form into the race, having finished third in stakes company over 2000m at her most recent outing.

“The Fire Inside’s run at her last start in the Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic had plenty of merit and like Habitual Offender she will get the mile-and-a-half”.

“Her main piece of work was on Thursday and it was very good. We are very pleased with her”.

“She has drawn gate 21 which isn’t ideal but she does have gate speed so should be able to jump and put herself into the race without using too much energy up early” Ormsby said.

Stablemate Valdivia will be sitting tight on Saturday morning to find out if he will be aboard the Ballymore truck bound for Ellerslie, and should the result be in his favour, he too has claims on the time-honoured race.

“Valdivia has been a victim of circumstance in his last two starts with both races being run at a slow pace, not suiting him at all” said Ormsby.

“If he does make the field we know that he will put himself sleep in the run and he just might be the one running on over top of them at the winning post”.

A win in this weekend’s Gr.1 feature would be a dream result for the Moroney-Ormsby training partnership. The successful combination are making an impact on the New Zealand trainers’ premiership with 31 winners to date this season, including a Gr.2 success in the Wellington Cup, such results auguring well for the future.

We are having a great season and we are hopeful that the winning roll can continue on Saturday” said Ormsby.

[27 Feb 14]

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