Derby Contender for Pierro

Golden Slipper hero Pierro already has an Oaks winner on his sire resume in Pinot and may well end up with a Derby winner after progressive colt Levendi (3c Pierro x Lipari, by Redoute’s Choice) scored a determined victory in the Group II ATC Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Winner of the Group III VRC Carbine Club Stakes over 1600 metres in the spring, the Peter Gelagotis trained colt has been given a good solid staying preparation this time in and was a last start second in the Group II MVRC Alister Clark over 2040 metres.

With that run under his belt, he relished the 2000 metres of the Tulloch Stakes, travelling just behind the leaders for Mark Zahra before hitting the line hard over the last 100 metres to grab a short head win over Astoria, who was third in the Victoria Derby in the spring.

“He didn’t make it easy for me,” Mark Zahra revealed.

“Halfway up the straight I thought he was complacent and happy running second, but I got stuck into him and the Gelagotis boys had him nice and fit. He was strong over the line.”

The Gelagotis brothers are in Dubai with Illustrious Lad for the Group I Al Quoz Sprint, but Zahra was optimistic about Levendi’s chances in the upcoming Group I ATC Australian Derby next Saturday where he will tackle 2400 metres.

“He switched off in the run. He relaxes really well,” he added.

“If he wasn’t going to get the trip I think he would have run second but he toughed it out really well.”

Levendi has won four of nine starts earning over $350,000 in prizemoney for his big team of owners.

A $140,000 Magic Millions purchase for Manny Gelagotis from the Widden Stud draft, Levendi was bred by long time Widden client Robert Anderson.

Foaled and raised at Widden, Levendi is the second winner for stakes-placed Redoute’s Choice mare Lipari, a daughter of Group I winner Tully Thunder.

Levendi is one of six stakes-winners this season for Pierro, who has 21 entries for the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

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