Autumn surprise packet Respondent delivered breeder-owners Bob and Sandra Peters their fifth win in the $400,000 Schweppes WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot today.
Respondent was the only horse to have beaten star three-year-old Ihtsahymn this autumn leading into the Group 2 classic when winning the Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) and J C Roberts Stakes (1800m).
But after a luckless third in the Melvista Stakes (2200m), Respondent was on the third line of betting at $5.50 behind Ihtsahymn and WA Oaks (2400m) winner, Balmont Girl.
Jockey William Pike made up for what he described as a poor ride last start, scything his way through the middle of the field from last on the turn.
Ihtsahymn ($1.90 favourite) soared to the lead early in the straight and looked home.
But he tired late and Respondent swooped, upsetting the favourite by 1 ¼ lengths.
Real Love ($10), also raced by the Peters family, ran third.
Balmont Girl ($3.30) made up late ground but failed to figure in the finish when fourth.
Trainer Paula Wagg advised stewards Balmont Girl was slow to recover and will be spelled.
Respondent was the fifth derby winner for the Peters family, following last year’s success with Mystic Prince and previous wins with fillies Natasha, Old Money and Dreamaway.
“I was a little bit worried there in the run,” Bob Peters said.
“I thought William was being a bit too patient, but it paid off.
“That’s exactly how she (Avenida Madero, Respondent’s dam) used to race – always out the back and coming home.
“It was great to see him do it as well.
“I thought I was running for third and fourth behind Ihtsahymn and Balmont Girl.
“He doesn’t really know what he’s doing – he’s a bit dumb – but he knows what to do at the end of races.”
Pike, who also won race one on Dubai Escapade, was keen to atone for his Melvista ride.
“I thought he could win. All I had to do was not ride him like last start,” Pike said.
“It’s quite amazing for a horse over this distance to let down like that.
“It felt good after my poor performance last start. I felt like I made up for it a bit.”
Peters said Respondent will be spelled and is likely to return for a $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) campaign later this year.