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Fortified strengthens Derby prospects

Fortified pictured as a yearling. - Photo: Trish Dunell
Fortified pictured as a yearling.

Photo: Trish Dunell

Ocean Park three-year-old Fortified (NZ) raced into Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) contention with an effortless win at Ipswich on Wednesday over 2210m.

The Chris Waller-trained gelding notched his third career victory from six starts and is raced by several of Waller’s most prominent owners, including Peter Tighe who was on-course to take in the four-length triumph over Mt Mort Shark (NZ) (Rip Van Winkle).

“He’s a really promising horse that is a late bloomer by Ocean Park,” stable representative Brett Killion said.

“He has just had to mature and find his feet. He was scratched from the Rough Habit last Saturday and if he was going to be going on to the Derby, then he wanted to be winning like that.

With the best part of $66,000 in prizemoney, Fortified is likely to make the Derby field and has been installed a $21 chance. 

“Hopefully he can sneak in,” Killion said.

“The Derby Distance is not going to bother him and he is just on an upward spiral.

“We had an Ocean Park filly here a few years back in Another Dollar, who was also a late blooming three-year-old and went around in the Classic races and was just nosed out in the Oaks, and he reminds me a touch of her.”

Fortified was purchased for $100,000 by Guy Mulcaster on behalf of Waller from the draft of Trelawney Stud at the 2019 Book 1 Yearling Sale at Karaka.

Out of the winning O’Reilly mare Dubonnet, Fortified’s granddam is Group One winner Pernod. -NZ Racing Desk