|Chez Felix was
never meant to win a Derby. He was by Felix, a sire who's progeny were speedsters and best
over 1000 metres. Vern Brockman the trainer of Chez Felix never told his charge back in
1970 that he wasn't bred to win a blue riband.
over three decades later Brockman is again looking at a horse bred to be a sprinter, to
win his second WA Derby in Perth on Saturday.
Just like Chez Felix wasn't aware he was bred for no
distances greater than six furlongs, the Kenvain gelding Lord Mason is proving there are
always exceptions to any rule.
Brockman points out that Lord Mason is not the only current
day stakes performer by Kenvain who is proving that he can match it with the best.
"I guess my horse is a bit like Rain Gauge,"
Brockman said. "They aren't bred to win distance races but they are!"
Many good judges in Perth feel Lord Mason is as exciting as
any three-year-old they have seen in the city for many years. Brockman also shares that
"Lord Mason has really done a great job. He's come a
long way from his initial win on debut that's for sure," Brockman said.
The Lord Mason story kicked off at Belmont Park in Perth
back in July last year. The gelding was well supported (8s to 5/1) and he created a big
impression when he came from a minute back to win.
"At his first start he was about fifteen lengths off
them. But he just flew home and then won going away on the line," Brockman recalled.
"It was a big win."
It certainly was a big win. But there was better still to
come from the youngster who'd cost connections just $11,000 at the Adelaide Magic Millions
Yearling Sale just a handful of months earlier.
On his third birthday Lord Mason, with his regular rider
Alana Sansom in the saddle, was again slowly away and then raced greenly before drawing
clear for another impressive win.
At his next two starts Lord Mason tasted defeat. His neck
second to Tribulations at Ascot on Valentine's Day was a great run. After racing
eratically during the early and middle stages he was disappointed for a run over the final
couple of hundred metres. Any luck and he wins.
He then blotted his impressive copybook when he got his
tongue over the bit and pulled up lame after a 6.3 length thirteenth behind the bolter
Healsville on March 2.
It was at the gelding's next start in the Magic Millions
3YO race at Ascot that made many sit back and take notice.
"When he won the Magic Millions I realised we had a
top class galloper," Brockman reflected. "He came from a wide barrier in that
race and didn't have much luck but still won well."
Even after winning the rich Magic Millions race connections
still didn't realise they have a Derby favourite in their hands.
"When he won over 1800 metres (two starts back) we
thought he was a genuine Derby contendor," Brockman added. "He hit the line well
then but there were still going to be some doubts about him getting the trip."
At his final Derby lead up run Lord Mason jumped another
400 metres in distance when he contested the listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) on March 30.
After again racing ungenerously he copped his usual lack of good luck, but still came
through with flying colours. Despite striking interference two furlongs from home, Lord
Mason drew clear over the latter stages to beat Lakeside Song by over a length.
Leading Perth hoop Stephen Miller was aboard the gelding in
the Melvista because regular rider Alana Sansom was suspended.
"Alana was suspended and missed riding him last
time," Brockman said. "She has since lodged an appeal and she is riding on a
stay of proceedings. She'll be back on him on Saturday," the trainer said of the
young female hoop who had ridden the gelding in every start and his fast work on the
The Brockman and Sansom combination have had a great deal
of luck in recent times. Not only has Lord Mason been doing the job for the duo, but the
recent efforts of gallopers like Lady Wild and Old Fashion have kept both their names to
the forefront of racing in the west.
Brockman is quietly confident Lord Mason can win Saturday's
$306,000 race and score his sixth win from just eight starts.
"He's done very well since his last start and I'm very
please with him," an upbeat Brockman reported. "The only query I guess will be
whether he can get the mile and a half, but I'm pretty sure he will do that fine."
Future plans for Lord Mason would depend on how he performs
in the Derby and how he progresses when he takes a break after the rich event.
"I think he's going to be a better horse next time
in," Brockman predicted. "He's still somewhat of an immature horse and he looks
like he's going to furnish into a nice horse for the autumn."
Lord Mason would probably be aimed toward the Group One
feature events in Perth which would include the Fruit 'n' Veg and Railway Stakes double.
And would Lord Mason be again at the tail of the field and
then produce a whirlwind finish like he had at each and every start to date?
"You might even see him a bit closer on Saturday. He
could be in front of a few horses as you would be expecting them to be going a bit slower
than they have in the past."