League hero Brett Stewart has NSW Derby runner

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Manly rugby league hero Brett Stewart has never shirked making a tackle . . . and now the pacer he part-owns, Zee Dana is set to do the same.

The youngster threw the gauntlet down to New Zealand’s unbeaten superstar Our Waikiki Beach when he set a world-record time for 3YO colts and geldings on the way to smashing his rivals in the first heat of the New South Wales Derby at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday, February 20.

Zee Dana stopped the clock at 2:51 for the mobile 2400m.

A masterly drive by Victoria Nathan Jack saw Zee Dana stop the clock in a stunning 1:54.7 for his final mile, breaking Major Secret’s previous world record for three-year-olds over 2400m by a full second.

Jack quickly showed his intentions when he was smartly away from gate five before taking a trail on Don’t Hold Back in the opening Derby qualifier.

But turning for home a split came when Power Of Red began to drop off after racing outside the leader and Zee Dana shot clear before romping away to score by almost 14 metres from Code Black (Todd McCarthy) with El Major (Mat Rue) a late-closing and impressive third.

Jack barely had time to wipe the mud from his visor on a night hit by intermittent showers before he was back in the winners’ circle in the second Derby heat, leading all-the-way with Brallos Pass to score by 2.9m from Sams The Master with another Victorian visitor Soho Tribeca (Chris Alford) flashing through to nab third.

Brallos Pass already has the SA Derby to his credit before a creditable fifth to Lazarus in the Victoria Derby.

With the right draw he is now certain to make his presence felt in next Sunday’s $A200,000 Coca-Cola Amatil NSW Derby.

The third and final Derby heat was just what the fans expected with the unbeaten Our Waikiki Beach (Natalie Rasmussen) doing just enough to make it 15 successive wins and maintain his unbeaten record.

Rasmussen made her move from last with 1000m to travel and settled outside the leader Shadow Runner before putting paid to his rivals in the straight to score in a 1:57.1 mile rate.

The make-up for next week’s 12-horse NSW Derby, with the barrier draw to be done on Sunday morning is:

Zee Dana, Code Black, El Major, Frankie Rocks, Brallos Pass, Sams The Master, Soho Tribeca, Ascot Encounter, Our Waikiki Beach, Kingofthestars, Cant Refuse and Stanley Ross Robyn.

Courtesy of Mandy Zammit,

Catering & Administration Co-ordinator,