Tim Clark celebrates a Queensland Derby victory on Dark Dream.
Kembla Grange gelding Dark Dream has given trainer Kerry Parker his first Group One win as he bounced back from a last-start defeat to win the Queensland Derby at Doomben.
Parker has had six placings in Group One races during his 25 years of training but he believes Dark Dream could be his best horse.
Dark Dream ($4.20) turned in a true stayer's performance to wear down Heavenly Thought ($8) by a short neck, with two and three-quarter lengths to last week's Queensland Oaks winner Youngstar, who cut her stablemate Augustus out of third on the line.
Parker was far from depressed when Dark Dream was beaten into third place at his previous start in the Grand Prix at Doomben.
"I have been saying all along that people shouldn't drop off the horse because he had no luck in the Grand Prix," Parker said.
"I will let this sink in and then we might be able to start talking about the spring. To finally win a Group One has left me very happy indeed."
Parker paid tribute to winning jockey Tim Clark, whose daring ride got him his third Group One win for the season.
"We decided to get going at the 600m and make it a staying test. Tim did just that," Parker said.
Dark Dream is a story that only racing can produce. When his sister, a yearling filly, was killed by a lightning strike, breeder and part-owner Mary Jane Basson took up an option for a free return to Chatswood Stud's All American with her broodmare Buchanan Girl.
Buchanan Girl cost only A$800 but she is now the dam of a Group One winner who has earned nearly A$600,000 in prize-money.
Parker is a good story as well, having worked for top Sydney trainer Les Bridge in the 1980s before moving to Kembla to ride work for David Vandyke and then gaining his trainer's licence in 1991.
Brad Rawiller, who rode Heavenly Thought, said he was proud of the gelding's effort in the last 50 metres when it turned into a real fight.
Kerrin McEvoy said the wide barrier had cost Youngstar valuable ground, forcing him to go back from the start.