Into Rio bolsters EZR's SA Derby team with Pakenham win

Apr 26, 2018

The South Australian Derby could be on the agenda for Into Rio after his dominant win on the Pakenham Synthetic track.

Into Rio scored a strong first-up win at Cranbourne on March 9 but was a victim of slowly-run races at his next two starts, including in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) at Morphettville at his previous outing.

Trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra dropped Into Rio back to Benchmark 64 level for the Sportsbet Racing Form Handicap and the step to 2200m was perfect at the three-year-old’s fourth run of his autumn campaign.

Jockey Damian Lane let Into Rio settle beyond midfield but let the son of Zacinto stride around his opposition with an unimpeded run from the 800m to the home turn.

Into Rio worked through his gears before sprinting well in the straight to score by a length but Lane only twice used the whip on the improving stayer in the last 250m.

“He’s been a horse that has been looking for this trip and no that he’s proven himself beyond the 2000m, hopefully that opens up some options for him,” Lane said.

“I was really happy with the run I had. He settled lovely for me. I got a good tow into the race and I was able to wait until the last 300m to ride him along.

“It was good for him to pull away from a field and hopefully he’ll learn a bit more from that.”

Meanwhile, stablemate High ‘N’ Dry will continue his charge towards the Group 1 South Australian Derby in Saturday’s Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2035m) at Morphettville.

The son of High Chaparral has been in outstanding form since trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra added blinkers to his gear before his impressive win at Sandown on Easter Monday.

High ‘N’ Dry took that form to Adelaide where he charged home late to run third in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m), giving every indication the 2500m of the South Australian Derby will be perfect for him.

Bookmakers also respected High ‘N’ Dry’s Port Adelaide Guineas run, making him the third favourite for the three-year-old staying event, which will be run on May 12.

Odeon ran second in the Port Adelaide Guineas two starts before his excellent third in the 2017 South Australian Derby. Zahra is confident High ‘N’ Dry can measure up to Group 3 level on Saturday.

“He’s just improving all the time and he’s definitely good enough to give the race a shake on Saturday,” Zahra said.

“His sectionals over 1800m last start were excellent and there’s no reason he can’t repeat that effort over 2000m.

“The wide barrier is the only negative factor for him but he’ll get back and, unlike some of his opposition, he’ll be running on strongly at the end of the race.”

Andrew Mallyon rode High ‘N’ Dry to victory at Sandown two starts back but missed the Port Adelaide Guineas ride. However, the experienced jockey will resume his partnership with the exciting stayer in the Chairman’s Stakes.