The WATC Derby is a Gr 1 Australian race contested in April
every year over 2400m at set weights by three-year-old thoroughbreds
at Ascot Racecourse in Perth, Western Australia. The race currently
offers a purse of AUD$500,000 and is generally considered to be the
most important staying event in the state.
Inaugurated in 1888, the WATC Derby is one of the oldest races in
Australia and has thus become something of a prestigious event each
year. As such, it regularly attracts many talented three-year-olds
from the state as well as notable runners from other states in
Australia, and even further afield from neighboring countries.
For instance, the 2009 WATC Derby winner was New Zealand-bred
thoroughbred, Marcus Maximus, who ran a magnificent race as he
stunned the large Ascot crowd by flying passed race favorite
Phenomenons and Berlioz to cross the line first. Marcus Maximus was
ridden by Luke Nolen for trainer Peter Moody.
Held each year as part of Ascot Racecourse's prestigious Perth
autumn carnival, the WATC Derby is run on the same day as the
highly-anticipated Sires Produce Stakes (Gr 2) for two-year-old
thoroughbreds. Run close to the AJC Derby and Australian Oaks in
Sydney, many trainers forgo the WATC Derby for those.
Notable WATC Derby winner, Carbine, won this race over 100 years ago
in 1894, who chalked up many victories in graded races across
Australia. These included the Cumberland Stakes, Sydney Cup, All
Aged Stakes, AJC Plate, Melbourne Stakes, Craven Plate, Melbourne
Cup and AJC Spring Stakes.