The apple clearly hasn’t fallen too far from the tree as far as emerging New Zealand-bred stayer and current Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) favourite Detonator Jack is concerned.
Unbeaten in three Australian appearances, he is a son of the late Jakkalberry and the No Excuse Needed mare Red Delicious who is also the dam of the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) winner Madison County.
Detonator Jack was a debut winner over 1400m at Bendigo in March and has since posted a Sandown double over 1600m and 2100m, his latest success over ground against older opposition on Easter Monday.
The three-year-old is trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and they won last year’s classic at Morphettville with another son of Jakkalberry in Explosive Jack.
Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock was involved in the ownership of the international top-flight winner and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) placegetter Jakkalberry.
He retired as the foundation sire at Luigi Muollo’s Novara Park in 2014, but sadly succumbed to an intestinal infection four years later.
Dance has understandably kept a close watch on the progeny of the Storming Home stallion and when opportunity knocked in the form of Detonator Jack he sealed the deal, subsequently syndicating the gelding and remaining in the ownership.
“I raced Jakkalberry and he was sold to Luigi after he finished racing and I was always keen to race some of his progeny,” he said.
“I got a phone call out of the blue from Mike Rennie and said he had been out to dinner with a mate of his (Cambridge horseman Mark Brooks) and he had a Jakkalberry that he owned half of with his partner.
“He broke it in and reckoned it had a bit of x-factor. I looked up the pedigree and ended up buying it off his word.”
Rennie, now Waikato Stud’s Business Manager, had previously recommended Yogi to Dance and the Raise The Flag gelding went on to win eight races, including a brace at Listed level.
“I’ve known Mike for a long time and dealt with him when he was working with Michael Wallace and we became quite good friends,” Dance said.
Detonator Jack hasn’t wasted any time in displaying his staying potential.
“He looks an exciting horse and to go from winning a Benchmark 64 to a 78 and go up in distance to 2100m against the older horses, and the first time on a wet track, really did answer a lot of questions,” Dance said.
“Not many three-year-olds can do that, I’ve never had one and he had plenty in hand. It’s off to the Derby now and he’ll go over there as a live chance.
“Jakkalberry was a great loss to the industry and it was tough on Luigi, to get a horse like that and then lose him was tragic.
“I’m pleased to have a good one and I just love the way he seems to be able to settle in his races. Even if he gets into a bit of traffic he can get his way out and has that turn of foot.”
Win, lose or draw in the Derby, Detonator Jack will be given plenty of time to fully develop.
“We’ll spell him and see which path we go down in the spring. As a four-year-old, we won’t be hammering him and will be looking after him,” Dance said.
“He will probably peak at five or six I would have thought. We will certainly manage him carefully and it certainly won’t be all about the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) or the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) this year.
“We’ll get him through the Derby and then work on getting his rating up and getting him more seasoned for 2023. He is an exciting horse with plenty of class about him.”