sport

Mr Speaker has the last word

Mr Speaker was a surprise winner of the inaugural Belmont Derby in New York in a course record time.

Jamie Osborne's UAE Derby winner, Toast Of New York, was a leading fancy for the Grade One contest and, despite breaking a shade slowly, secured a decent pitch in around third behind runaway leader Pornichet.

The three-year-old was having his first start for Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse and his first in blinkers proved far too free as Joel Ortiz struggled to settle him.

The French Guineas third did eventually drop the bit and the field bunched up with Jamie Spencer moving Toast Of New York wider on the track in order to guarantee a run.

In contrast, Colm O'Donoghue was hugging the rail aboard Adelaide and they get a dream run through in the stretch to launch what appeared to be a winning challenge with Toast Of New York struggling to pick up in the straight.

However, Mr Speaker - last for the first half mile - burst through on the inside and, although Adelaide stuck gamely to his task, was always holding the second on the run to the wire with Flamboyant back in third.

A Grade Three winner on both turf and Polytrack, Mr Speaker was unconsidered after finishing a well-beaten fifth and last when an odds-on favorite in the Pennine Ridge Stakes over nine furlongs of the Belmont inner course in May.

He was making his first start at 1 1/4 miles in the Belmont Derby, which was previously the Jamaica Handicap and contested in the autumn."He definitely redeemed himself; his last race was very disappointing," McGaughey told www.bloodhorse.com. "He trained well coming up to today and we changed our game plan; I wanted him back. Jose rode a great race on him.

"I had a concrete reason (to dismiss his last race), but you always have your doubts. Does he belong in the top layer of horses or not? I think today he proved he does.

"My confidence was shaken a little bit; he was a different horse (before the Pennine Ridge), it was like he had never been in the paddock before. He went to the post and was looking up into the crowd. But today, he was an entirely different horse.""We broke, and I got the position I wanted," winning rider Jose Lezcano said. "I let him settle. Last time, he was a little aggressive. It was a five-horse field, he broke, and no one wanted to go, so he took the lead.

"Today, on the backside, I made a little move to try and hold my position. Then I followed a horse I saw running (Adelaide); I think I followed the right horse."O'Donoghue said of Adelaide, who was only beaten a head: "I had a trouble-free trip. He sat beautifully and ran strong the last two furlongs."