Lance O’Sullivan chases the Queensland Derby 30 years after winning with his father Dave

Lance O’Sullivan is looking to replicate what his famous father Dave did 30 years ago by winning the Queensland Derby.

Legendary New Zealand jockey turned trainer Lance O’Sullivan won the Queensland Derby 30 years ago for his father Dave, now looking to win one of his own as trainer with Dark Destroyer at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

O’Sullivan was the go-to jockey for his father’s mighty stable, which won the 1991 Cox Plate with Surfers Paradise, but has since established himself as one of the leading trainers in all of Tasman, with his brother Paul also a trainer. respected in Hong Kong. Kong.


Incredibly, the Royal Magic won the Queensland Oaks with O’Sullivan at the height of his jockeying powers in 1992, before returning to the Queensland Derby seven days later with the same result.

“It’s been a long time,” O’Sullivan said.

“She was a very skilled filly.

“We were very successful in Australia, there were a lot of good horses; Dad had a barn full of them at the time.

“He always trained outside of New Zealand, we traveled to them. He is now 88 years old, but the marbles are still there.”

While O’Sullivan scaled incredible heights as a jockey, he rarely did his best work in Queensland.

After obtaining a trainer’s license, O’Sullivan admits he had trouble fitting in early on, but his horse skills have shone ever since, where he, along with co-trainer Andrew Scott, are one of the dominant forces. in New Zealand racing.

“When I started training, a lot of horses were running positions and you think ‘that should have won,’ but I think as you get older you learn to accept it,” he said.

“It’s harder than riding, anyone who’s successful with any horse, I certainly don’t envy them because I know how hard it is.”

After arriving weeks before any other New Zealand trained horse, Dark Destroyer has improved with each race in Queensland, highlighted by his incredible victory in Group 2 Rough Habit Plate a fortnight ago at the same track.

“He was a very useful horse here in New Zealand, he was the favorite for the Derby here and we’re not sure what happened, he was boxed out so that’s what we put down, it’s been quite a while. out,” he said.

“The hindsight is a great thing because all of a sudden he doesn’t have all the mileage here in New Zealand and he went there (Brisbane) fresh.

“We ran out of time a bit, we didn’t get a chance to give him a barrier test here, but I thought his first race was a good one to see where he was in his preparation.

“It broke ground in the Rough Habit and it was encouraging for us because we had never run it beyond the mile in New Zealand.”

Dark Destroyer is the $4.40 favorite for the TAB race, even in dry conditions, which O’Sullivan says will bring a lot more horses to the race.

Originally published as Lance O’Sullivan chases the Queensland Derby 30 years after winning with his father Dave

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