The South Australian Derby is a 2500 metre race for three-year-olds at set weights run by the South Australian Jockey Club. It is held at Morphettville in late April or May each year.

  • Race Type: Group 1, 3YO Set Weights
  • Distance: 2,500 metres
  • Track: Morphettville Racecourse, Adelaide, South Australia
  • Date: Saturday 8 May 2021

The South Australian Derby is a year-older than the Melbourne Cup as it was first run in 1860. That year it was won by Midnight over 12 furlongs. Midnight was by a sire called South Australian who produced other winners of the SA Derby with Tim Whiffler in 1865 and Regalia in 1867.

Like many older races it has undergone changes in distance over the years and there were several years when the race was not held. Over the years it has changed distances several times between 2400 and 2500 metres and in 1980 was run over 2600 metres. The last 2400 metre running was in 2000 and since 2001 it has remained at 2500 metres. It has been a Group 1 race since 1979.

Under set weights the colts and geldings carry 56.5kg and the fillies carry 54.5kg. It is the leading three-year-old race in Adelaide and the major lead-up races are the Chairman’s Stakes (previously called the Veuve Cliquot Stakes) over 2025 metres and the VRC St Leger over 2800 metres.

South Australian Derby Final Field & Odds 2020

See below for early betting markets on this years South Australian Derby.

South Australian Derby Preview & Tips 2020

Track: Good    Weather: Fine

There are 14 runners for the $400,000 TAB South Australian Derby, including three fillies. Six of the runners had their last start in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes over 2035m, the three fillies had their last start in the G1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks over 2000m, and two runners had their last start in the Listed VRC St Leger over 2800m at Flemington. The early favourite is Dalasan who has won the Port Adelaide Guineas and the Chairman’s Stakes at his last two starts and will be very hard to beat. Second favourite is Warning who flew home from well back for 3rd in the Chairman’s Stakes and will be suited by the extra distance. Third favourite is the lightly-raced Russian Camelot who won by 7 lengths at Pakenham Park last start.

Moonlight Maid led into the straight but was caught by the winner at the 150m to finish 2nd in the Schweppes Oaks. Miyake was a 1.3 length winner over 1900m at Canterbury Park last outing. Themoonlitegamble ran 1.3 lengths 2nd in the Chairman’s Stakes. Saint Eustace charged home for a close 2nd in the VRC St Leger. Silent Sovereign was inconvenienced when 3.3 lengths 10th in the Schweppes Oaks. All other runners are currently over 40 to 1.

South Australian Derby Runner by Runner 2020

1. Dalasan

This lovely chestnut colt won the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas by 3 lengths on 4 April, then the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes by 1.3 lengths on 25 April beating several of the horses here. He has won 7 of his 14 starts and should have no problems with the extra distance. He is my top pick to win.

2. Warning

In the Spring he won the Victoria Derby by over 3 lengths so he already has a Group 1 win and can handle the distance. He flew home from 10th to grab 3rd in the Chairman’s Stakes and should be in the finish again.

3. Themoonlitegambler

He finished 3rd in the Port Adelaide Guineas then 1.3 lengths 2nd in the Chairman’s Stakes. Both of those were very good runs and he is an each=way chance again.

4. Russian Camelot

With 2 wins from 4 starts, this colt has had an unusual preparation for this race. He was 2.7 lengths 4th in a Super Vobis 3Yo handicap over 1400m at Flemington on 7 March, then he cruised away for a 7 length win over 1600m at Pakenham Park on 9 April. This is much tougher but you can’t ignore a horse that wins by such a huge margin. Ignore him at your peril.

5. Miyake

This colt didn’t seem to handle the heavy track when 12th over 1600m at Warwick Farm on 8 April, but then he came out and beat older horses winning by 1.3 lengths over 1900m at Canterbury Park on 22 April. He looks as if he will handle the extra distance and should be included in the exotics.

6. Saint Eustace

He finished 7th in the Post Adelaide Guineas then charged home for a close 2nd in the VRC St Leger at Flemington on 25 April. He will run the distance well but may not be the quickest.

7. Rising Archie

One of two runners for Paul Preusker (the other is St Arnicca) he won a maiden plate at Ararat on 18 April then led early but was headed inside the 100m to finish 3rd over 2100m at Sandown Lakeside on 2 May. This is much harder.

8. Rock Steady

This gelding has only had 4 races and won a maiden over 2050m at Strathalbyn on 15 April then did a good job to run 5th in the Chairman’s Stakes on 25 April. Not the worst.

9. St Arnicca

He ran 4th in the Galilee Series Final over 2400m at Caulfield on 11 April, then finished 5.6 lengths in the VRC St Leger over 2800m on 25 April. Will find this too tough.

10. Exalted Ambition

Last start he finished 3.8 lengths 6th in the Chairman’s Stakes and would have to improve considerably to be competitive here.

11. Sowpods

The rank outsider of the field. He has won one of his 11 starts and his last-start 8th in the Chairman’s Stakes suggests he will finish closer to the back of the field than the front.

12. Moonlight Maid

This filly did a terrific job to finish 2nd in the Schweppes Oaks behind Toffee Tongue. She likes to lead and I expect her to be in it for a long-way. Each-way chance.

13. Silent Sovereign – SCRATCHED

14. Zayydani

She was doing her best work late when she finished 2.4 lengths 7th in the Schweppes Oaks, and looks as if she will go better over the extra ground. Include her in your multiples.

The following are the top 4 selections from our tipster panel for this years race.

Jo’s Tips
1 Dalasan
3 Russian Camelot
2 Warning
5 Miyake

Previous winners of the South Australian Derby:

Long shots have won this race in the past including Blue Murder (25 to 1), Pantani (30 to 1), Bulta (50 to 1) and Cheviot (60 to 1). South Australian Derby winners need to be tough stayers and several winners have gone on to win major staying races like the  Adelaide Cup, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup. So far no SA Derby winner has won a Cox Plate. When Qafila won in 2019 she was the only filly in the race.

Year Winner Second Third
2020 Russian Camelot Dalasan Warning
2019 Qafila Savvy Oak Mr Quickie
2018 Leicester Rezealient Runaway
2017 Volatile Mix Ruthven Odeon
2016 Howard Be Thy Name Etymology Cool Chap
2015 Delicacy Werther Allergic
2014 Kushadasi Scratchy Bottom Best Case
2013 Escado Hioctdane Shoreham
2012 Zabeelionaire Sabrage Westsouthwest
2011 Shadows In The Sun Echoes Of Heaven Lalla Rookh
2010 Kidnapped Red Colossus Galleon
2009 Rebel Raider Astro Gains Fitoussi
2008 Zarita (NZ) Zagreb Neugine
2007 Lazer Sharp Classic De Lago Red Lord
2006 Testifiable Empire Gold Irazu
2005 Tails of Triumphe Douro Valley Kamsky
2004 Hard To Get On A Jeune Better Jetsetter
2003 Mummify Vicksburg Lord Woburn (NZ)
2002 Pantani (NZ) Silver Baron Lester Thunderwing
2001 Big Pat Bush Padre Adolescence
2000 Blue Murder Mr Nelson Voile D’Or