Diego Jem dazzles in Derby

Diego Jem was too good in Thursday’s $50,000 Group 1 Mike Stent Decorators Limited New Zealand Derby. Photo credit: Yvette Bodiam.


Months of meticulous planning paid off for Canterbury trainer Tony Hart, when Diego Jem took out the Group 1 Mike Stent Decorators Limited New Zealand Derby at Cambridge last Thursday.

Race favourite Opawa Superstar jumped to the initial lead off Box 7, but Diego Jem utilised Box 1 to advantage, and accelerated quickly along the rail to assume control of the race. The son of Fabregas and Jemima Tee held on to score by just under a length, ahead of Opawa Superstar and Master Porthos.

“I was absolutely thrilled,” said Hart, who also trains Master Porthos. “We’d planned this race a few months ago, and it all worked out to perfection. We were so over the moon. It was especially good because we bred and reared Diego Jem.

“When Opawa Superstar jumped to the lead, I thought the race was all over, but then Diego Jem used the rail and got up. He’s got stacks of ability.

“My phone was red-hot on Thursday afternoon – I could hardly text everyone back, and I’m hopeless at texting anyway!” he laughed.

Owned by Jose Arthur, Diego Jem has only had 11 career starts, for eight wins and two second placings.

One race later, Hart and Arthur combined again for another Group race victory, with Charlotte Lu proving too good in the Group 2 Lois Henley Memorial Trophy. She only made a fair beginning off Box 5, but showed terrific acceleration to speed through the pack and win by half a length over Georgia’s Girl.

“I was worried when she missed away, but she did so well,” said Hart. “She’s now being targeted for the New Zealand Oaks next month, while the likes of Master Porthos and Diego Jem will be aimed for the $15,000 sprint on the same day (13 May).”

Earlier in the programme, Typhoon Tim dominated from start to finish in the Group 2 Angus Wright Memorial Sprint for Lisa Cole. The talented chaser has now won 33 from 64 races, and his prizemoney earnings now stand just shy of $100,000.

Know Keeper was sublime in winning the Group 2 Teressa McDonald Memorial Cup for Garry Cleeve. He settled in third off Box 4 before getting into his work down the back straight. He extended away late to score by six and a half lengths over Shanmaria, with a further four lengths back to Little Teegs in third.

Know Keeper has now won 13 races from 13 attempts over 600m and further.

By Liz Whelan

Posted on 19 April 2022

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