Riff Rocket wins 3rd Group 1 win this year at ATC Australian Derby

Noah Strang
Noah Strang
Tamworth Racecourse 26/04/24
Riff Rocket shows his class in Group 1 ATC Australian Derby win

Premier colt Riff Rocket came away with a victory in Saturday’s ATC Australian Derby at the Randwick Racecourse, Sydney. He was ridden  by jockey James McDonald.  
This win was the third Group 1 win for Riff Rocket during this racing season. It was also his second Derby win this season after winning the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington.  
Riff Rocket’s trainer, Chris Waller, had never had a horse win the ATC Australian Derby before Saturday. 

News Insights

  • Riff Rocket wins ATC Australian Derby on Saturday.
  • ATC Australian Derby win is Riff Rocket’s third Group 1 win of the season.
  • Riff Rocket’s total winnings now exceed $3 million.

Riff Rocket continues dominant streak 

There are very few three-year-old’s racing better than Riff Rocket right now. Some are even calling the Sydney-trained horse the best of his generation in Australian horse racing.  
Riff Rocket was the horse racing betting sites favourite heading into the ATC Australian Derby and he delivered. The son of legendary Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah won the race by a 0.4L margin over Joseph Pride’s Ceowulf ($7) to earn his third Group 1 win of the season and $1,950,000 in prize money.  
Riff Rocket’s total winnings now exceed $3 million. 
Earlier in the spring, Riff Rocket also won the Group 1 Victoria Derby at Flemington. His win on Saturday makes him just the fourth horse in history to complete a ‘Derby double’ since the racing schedule was shaken up to move the Sydney edition to the fall.  

Premier trainer gets his first Australian Derby win 

Riff Rocket and jockey James McDonald received most of the plaudits for Saturday’s big ATC Australian Derby, but few deserve it more than Sydney-based trainer Chris Waller.  
The Hall of Fame Australian Thoroughbred trainer had never seen one of his horses win the Australian Derby. When Riff Rocket got the job done, the New Zealand-born Waller broke down in tears.  
“I don't cry as much as I used to but this one's pretty special,” Waller said after the race. 
“It's pretty special, simple as that, and these guys (Riff Rocket owner Debbie Kepitis and the Ingham family) were here before I had the first Group 1 winner so it's fitting.” 
He's done a great job, he's an amazing horse, he puts himself into the race at the right time. Amazing ride from James. He didn't panic being back there, it was a truly-run Derby and we had that question mark over his staying ability, but how dare we?” 
With an Australian Derby win under his belt, the only major Sydney Group 1 race Waller has yet to win is the Canterbury Stakes.