Laing eyes another Derby

Nov 01, 2017

There are no rules or even rough guidelines to winning the Victoria Derby and Robbie Laing is intent on proving that theory on Saturday at Flemington when he takes Pissaro to the $1.5 million classic.

Just four years ago, Laing won the season's first distance classic with Polanski, who had a touch of class and was a bit of a 'hot-head'. But this year Laing is intent on landing the prize with a horse boasting vastly different characteristics.

"He's a very laidback colt with a big, sweeping stride on him," Laing said this week of Pissaro. "This horse would never win below a mile but Polanski could; he was a bit of a hot-head but he was also brilliant."

Pissaro, who ran fourth in last Saturday's Vase at Moonee Valley, is rated around a $21 chance of winning the Derby and Laing, as usual, takes plenty of confidence with him.

"I think he'll win and so does the jockey," he said.

"My former apprentrice (Noel Callow) got off him last Saturday and said 'I'll win the Derby on this' and I also thought it was a great run from a Derby point of view.

"Even taking a line through last year, Prized Icon could only finish sixth in the Vase. But then he ran out the trip better than any other the next Saturday and I can see a similar thing with this horse."

Pissaro was a $410,000 yearling purchase from the Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast and Laing said he was keen to buy the Pierro colt after just one look at him.

"I know they don't have walking races but he was the best walking colt at the Magic Millions," Laing said. "The only disappointing thing about him is that when I bought him he was 15.1 hands and he's now 15.2 so he's grown an inch."

Once Laing had gone back through the colt's pedigree he was keener still for him to join the stable. He traced his dam's family back to the 1970 VRC Oaks winner Sanderae, whose grand-daughter Sneetch produced the US Group 1 winner Black Mamba.

"He's got a dour two-mile pedigree with Grosvenor, Sound Reason and Oncidium all in his family," Laing said.

"We've trained him for the race. He's a nice, relaxed colt and he's improved since Saturday.

"Last Saturday, his last 200 (metres), he made up two or three lengths on the third horse. He got strung up behind a Godolphin horse and he's a big-striding horse and he started to climb a little bit and they got away from him but his last 200 he ran 11.8 (seconds)."

Pissaro is not the only Group 1 chance for Laing on Saturday as he's ready to run So Si Bon in the Kennedy Mile, where he's on the minimum with 52kg.

"He worked brilliantly this week and the weather might be the key," Laing said. "He melts a bit if it's hot and it's only going to be 16 degrees with a bit of rain on Saturday so they are the ideal conditions and I've been dying to get to Flemington over a mile with him."

Laing also saddles Missrock in the TAB Multiplier Stakes.

"Missrock has Hughie Bowman to ride and she looks well placed down the 1200-metre course," he said. "She galloped brilliantly this week and looks spot on."

Story by Andrew Eddy for / Image courtesy of Racing Photos