If Aldebaran Ursula can beat the colts in Saturday’s Club Menangle NSW Trotters Derby the star three-year old filly’s career earnings will shoot past $93,000.
Not bad for an $8000 outlay at the 2019 Australasian Premier Trotting Sale - and all it took was a speculative phone call and a remarkable eye for a good trotter.
Menangle-based trainer KerryAnn Morris said the Yield Boko filly, bred by Aldebaran Park, first came to her attention when partner Robert Morris rang her while on his way to the races.
“He said, ‘do you want to buy something from these sales?’ And, to be honest, we hadn’t really had that close a look," she said.
"I was just flicking through the photos and I said ‘I like the look of her’ - she just looked like a good little compact horse.
"Robert had actually driven her mother (Ushaka Bromac) a long time ago and I thought she was worth the try.”
Morris said they phoned a friend at the sales, who made the winning bid. Fast-forward two years and the investment has already returned $72,180 from 17 starts, with Aldebaran Ursula’s seven wins including a never-say-die Group 2 NSW Trotters Oaks victory on May 1.
“She came home, we broke her in here, and every since day dot she has been very natural at what she does and just a real pleasure to have around the stables,” Morris said.
“She has done the majority of her racing here at Menangle and she loves the big track. She’s always raced good here and she loves that long straight, it gives her time. She has got a good will to win and doesn’t stop trying.
“Everything worked out really well (in the Oaks), Rob drove her really good, he probably couldn’t have given her a better trip and everything fell into place.”
The Oaks win continued Alderberan Ursula’s impressive run of form (two wins and two placings from four starts) since returning from a short break after a campaign in Victoria with Kate and Andy Gath.
The trip down south featured some luckless runs, including in the Breeders Crown, but culminated in her winning the inaugural Group 3 Graeme Lang Aldebaran Park Trotting Mile at Bendigo, with her 1:55.7 mile rate an Australasian record for two-year-old trotters.
“We always knew she had ability, she had already broken a Menangle race record (for two-year-old trotters) as well,” Morris said.
“With COVID we couldn’t travel with her, so we had to send her to someone else. Kate and Andy do a terrific job with the trotters and we thought they would be the perfect people to send her to.
“We were just over the moon with (the Graeme Lang Trotting Mile win). “
Five Victorian horses are among a hot NSW Trotters Derby field - Anthony Butt and Sonya Smith will send trio Have No Fear, Celebration Stride and emergency Monarch Stride, while Brent Lilley will gear up Kyvalley Hotspur and My Used To Be will score up for Lisa Miles.
And Aldeberan Ursula won’t be the only APTS graduate: Dream Inception,who fetched $29,000 at the 2019 sale for breeders Lorraine and Geoff Barnes, will line up from the back row for Troy Williams.
Morris said every horse in the race was a danger.
“They are good colts she is up against, but she’s has got a good barrier draw and they are not horses she hasn’t run against before, so I think she may be well in the mix,” she said.
“We never expect anything from her, we just know she will run a good race. Hopefully she can get a good trip again on Saturday night.”
Morris said Aldebaran Ursula would enjoy another break after the Derby before heading down south again later this year.
“She’s got some more feature races down in Melbourne towards the end of the year, so that’s our aim with her,” Morris said.