South Australian Derby Race Information

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
  • Distance: 2500 metres
  • Conditions: Set weights, 3YOs
  • Track: Morphettville Racecourse, Adelaide, South Australia
  • Prizemoney: $1,000,000
  • Date: Saturday 4 May 2024

South Australian Derby Race History

See the 2024 SA Derby Preview and results.

See the 2023 SA Derby Preview and results.

See the 2022 SA Derby Preview and results.

See the 2021 SA Derby Preview and results.

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.

When Explosive Jack won in 2021 it was his 3rd Derby win as he had already won the Tasmanian Derby and the Australian Derby.

Useful Facts

Last filly to win; Qafila (2019)

Fastest time (2500m): Big Pat (2001) 2:36:25

Leading trainers: Bart Cummings with 10 wins (Shiva’s Revenge 1991; Shark’s Fin 1987; Stormy Rex 1977; Vacuum 1976; Prince Of All 1975; Dayana 1972; Paradigm 1969; Peculator 1966; Ziema 1964; Stormy Passage 1958)

Interesting trivia: When Russian Camelot won in 2020 he had 6 months less experience than the other runners as he was European bred. Patrick Payne won this race as a jockey on Bullwinkle in 1994 and as a trainer with Dunkel in 2023.

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
2024 Coco Sun Warmonger Air Assault
2023 Dunkel Promises Kept Aberfeldie Boy
2022 Jungle Magnate Yaphet Detonator Jack
2021 Explosive Jack Let’s Karaka Deel Nobel Heights
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
1999 Showella Seasquill Our Position
1998 Bulta Prince Standaan The Hind
1997 Markham King’s Landing Derobe
1996 Cheviot Hurricane Storm Pay Back Time
1995 Count Chivas Storm Scrupulous
1994 Bullwinkle Battle Hawk Paxmat
1993 Our Pompeii Sentaway McBrave
1992 Subzero Dark Ksar Tolomeran
1991 Shiva’s Revenge All Mine Brave Expectations
1990 Diego Double Gin Red Chase
1989 Sea Brigand The Phantom Bar Landy
1988 Celtic Spirit Kaapstad Apollo Run
1987 Shark’s Fin Happy View Brisque
1986 French Cotton Stanimar Beagle Bay
1985 Sir Zephyr Conceited Man Noble Cavalier
1984 Mapperley Heights Not Declared Laser’s Fury
1983  ** Race not run **
1982 English Wonder Malvita Reckless Ruler
1981 Brewery Boy Hunka’s Tribe Dry Wine
1980 Tasman Holflex Zamenhof
1979 Top Ware Pan Piper Point Opera
1978 Regal Jester Dulcify Boldpasser
1977 Stormy Rex So Called Minuetto
1976 Vacuum Major Till Cherish Me
1975 Prince Of All Galena Boy Summer Hay
1974 Exalt’s Pride Haymaker Ex Officio
1973 Sir Gerald Asgard High Value
1972 Dayana Oncide Galeola
1971 Near Boy Oakmont General Filou
1970 Clear Prince Equation Regal Heir
1969 Paradigm Natural Trump Beaudale
1968 Dale Lace Testify Chapeau
1967 Kembla Tulyar Chief Valentino
1966 Peculator Magic Flute Noble Street
1965 Mission Bonny Lomond Fulman
1964 Ziema Red Brass Our Sensation
1963 Hunting Horn L’Escargot Toscin
1962 Royal Ziet Smooth Blend Wine Book
1961 Gatum Gatum Aramo Nordic
1960 Royal Chat Beau Sabreur True Label
1959 Crusty Bottle Lebedos Baroda Gleam
1958 Stormy Passage Jordan Morlock
1957 Galloway Tuki Ladle
1956 Auteuil Newstone Remu
1955 Ralkon Pandie Sun Wine Lover
1954 Pandie Star Sequentia Matrice
1953 Jovial Scot Punctuate Stockavion
1952 Winemaker Beau Grand Rousvaross
1951 Beau Cavalier Remover Duramint
1950 Toastmaster Beccason Star Monarch
1949 Glenvue Wine Lore Serene Star
1948 Idle Banter Cupid’s Star Mesabi
1947 Basama St. Don Sunfire
1946 Conservator Money Moon Lord Chatham
1945 Dauntless St Magic St Magic
1944 Bluenor Ramsgate Ramsgate
1943  ** Race not run **
1942  ** Race not run **
1941 Ladmond Penaton Peter
1940 Waxwings The Falcon Rainbar
1939 Lusson Sligo Dreamsome
1938 Tempest Panka Rotex
1937 Golden Hill Earl Sion Baratilla
1936 Brave Lad Kingswood Norleen
1935 Beamish Boy The Riff Pimpeau
1934 Alinura Supervalve Allenby
1933 Yultewirra Lord Comique Coronado
1932 Traverse Royal Rest Magna Charta
1931 Opera King Pezi Sana Fulmond
1930 Induna Blatherskite Kidston
1929 Hot Spring Bachelor Green White Nose
1928 Mount Of Olives Opera Queen Yassmin
1927 Marco Polo Some Quality Alfred The Great
1926 Pindenda Nassem Simla
1925 Ethelton All Crimson Annihilate
1924 Wycherley Ble Noir Artamus
1923 King Of Mirth Stormy Day So Long
1922 Burnished Parvista Humorist
1921 Leon Statton
The Storm
 * dead-heat 2nd
1920 Pogonatos Hesso Kord Passe
1919 Lord Setay Crusader Rekop
1918 Stagegirl Paratoo Minchinbury
1917 Cosmos Shacko St. All
1916 Nevka Boontree Ptami
1915 Perambulate Toleration Oopina
Pistol Prince
1914 Fidelio Auceps Arise
1913 Kildalton Devron First Post
1912 Puringa Friar Perfecy Tadanga
1911 Sanskrit Banffshire T.T.
1910 Sergius Isothermal Phormio
1909 The Greek Permian Sir Edwin
1908 Tiercel The Shifter Alarm
1907 Palotta Topedi Medaglia
1906 Kismet II Kooringa Flash
1905 Torah Carlinga Shimose
1904 Ganymedes Step Out His Eminence
1903 F.J.A. St. Vincent Ben Hur
1902 Rienzi Sojourner
Cross Keys
 * dead-heat 2nd
1901 Ritualist Amiral Discussion
1900 Miltiades Royal Artillery Malleolus
1899 Gunga Din Tarloch Sunny Morn
1898 Hainault Dirk Hammerhand Cicero
1897 Goodwill Lord Salisbury Thunder King
1896 Thunder Queen Princess Of Wales The Royalist
1895 Auraria Miraclum Birksgate
1894 Monastery Haughtiness Cateran
1893 Salient Malula Principle
1892 Vakeel Broken Hill Jack Robinson
1891 Lady Rose Nocondra Lord Grenville
1890 Cheddar Inglismaldie Go-Ahead
1889  ** Race not run **
1888  ** Race not run **
1887  ** Race not run **
1886  ** Race not run **
1885  ** Race not run **
1884 Gratitude Sandal Helene
1883 Dirk Hatteraick Sardius Bis Bis
1882 Guesswork Royal Irishman Bassanio
1881 Topaz The Israelite The Dutchman
1880 Rothschild (The Assyrian) Ursula Delamere
1879 Pawnbroker First Water Rivalry
1878 Viceroy Cowarie Don Carlos
1877 Irish Queen Lockleys  * only 2 runners
1876 Pride Of The Hills Presumption Don Fernando
1875  ** Race not run **
1874  ** Race not run **
1873  ** Race not run **
1872  ** Race not run **
1871  ** Race not run **
1870  ** Race not run **
1869  ** Race not run **
1868 Centurion Summersides  * only 2 runners
1867 Regalia Corsair Madam Darkie
1866 Crusader General Lee Medora
1865 Tim Whiffler Smuggler Miss Fisher
1864 Dec Queen Of Barossa Prince Albert Robin Hood
1864 Jan Lubra Iris Gipsy
1863 Lord Of The Isles Encounter Black Jenny
1862 Riddle Loadstone Miss Rowe
1861 Typo Blue Bonnett Blue Bonnett
1860 Midnight Rarey Stormy Petrel

From the archives:

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