2020 New Zealand Derby

The 2020 New Zealand Derby was a Group I horse race which took place at Ellerslie Racecourse on Saturday 29 February 2020. It was the 145th running of the New Zealand Derby, and it was won by Sherwood Forest. [1]

Sherwood Forest was bred by the Goodson & Perron Family Trust and was sold for A$100,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. He is owned by the Goodson & Perron Family Trust, Calder Bloodstock Ltd and Deborah Martin. Sherwood Forest is trained by Tony Pike in Cambridge, New Zealand.

Sherwood Forest had made an impact in the spring, winning two races including the War Decree Stakes at Group Three level in October, and he also finished third in the New Zealand 2000 Guineas in November. But trainer Tony Pike believed he would come into his own over longer distances later in the season.

The 2020 Derby had been billed as a two-horse battle of the sexes.[2] The filly Two Illicit had scored a seven-length win in the Waikato Guineas, while the well-bred gelding Dragon Leap easily won the Avondale Guineas. They disputed favouritism throughout the two weeks leading into the Derby, and no other runner was in single-figure odds.[3]

Coming around the home turn, that two-horse showdown appeared to be happening as Dragon Leap and Two Illicit surged to the lead together. But Sherwood Forest stayed with them and began to poke through in between them. Ridden by Melbourne-based jockey Michael Walker, his stamina shone through as he pulled clear in the last 200 metres to win by a length and a quarter. Two Illicit held on for second, with the fast-finishing Scorpz snatching third from a tiring Dragon Leap.

The time for the Derby was 2:26.77, which was the fastest since 1998 and the third-fastest since 1972.[4]

It was a third Derby victory for Walker, who had previously won on Military Move in 2010 and on Puccini in 2014.

It was Pike's second Derby, having won the race in 2016 with Rangipo.

Race detailsEdit

  • Sponsor: Vodafone New Zealand
  • Prize money: NZ$1,000,000
  • Track: Good
  • Number of runners: 16
  • Winner's time: 2:26.77

Full resultEdit

Margin Horse Jockey Trainer Odds
1 Sherwood Forest Michael Walker Tony Pike $13.50
2 Two Illicit Vinnie Colgan Roger James & Robert Wellwood $2.00
3 2 Scorpz Danielle Johnson Stephen Marsh $13.10
4 Long head Dragon Leap Jason Waddell Lance O'Sullivan & Andrew Scott $3.10
5 ½ Monlula Michael Coleman Roger James & Robert Wellwood $91.80
6 Head Reggiewood Ryan Elliot Roger James & Robert Wellwood $14.60
7 Den Bosch Craig Grylls Peter Didham $114.50
8 1 Platinum Road Jonathan Riddell Lisa Latta $87.70
9 Lochwinnoch Sam Spratt Michael Wallace $155.30
10 ¾ Platinum Spirit Rosie Myers Lisa Latta $61.50
11 Nose Shakespeare Sam Collett Johno Benner & Hollie Wynyard $72.10
12 Dalmatia Sam Weatherley Johno Benner & Hollie Wynyard $119.50
13 Tibetan Leith Innes Andrew Campbell $23.80
14 3 Vladivostok Shaun McKay Andrew Campbell $29.90
15 4 Red Rufus Robert Hannam Peter Didham $102.20
16 7 Peloton Matt Cameron Andrew Campbell $107.70

Winner's detailsEdit

Further details of the winner, Sherwood Forest:

  • Foaled: 1 September 2016
  • Sire: Fastnet Rock; Dam: Chasing Mammon (Giant's Causeway)
  • Owner: Goodson & Perron Family Trust, Calder Bloodstock Ltd & Deborah Martin
  • Trainer: Tony Pike
  • Breeder: Goodson & Perron Family Trust
  • Starts: 11
  • Wins: 4
  • Seconds: 0
  • Thirds: 2
  • Earnings: $737,875

The road to the DerbyEdit

Early-season appearances prior to running in the 2020 Derby.

  • Sherwood Forest5th Hawke's Bay Guineas, 1st War Decree Stakes, 3rd New Zealand 2000 Guineas, 4th Auckland Guineas, 3rd Avondale Guineas
  • Two Illicit1st Trevor Eagle Memorial, 2nd Eight Carat Classic, 1st Royal Stakes, 1st Waikato Guineas
  • Scorpz1st Wellington Stakes, 1st 3YO Salver, 2nd Avondale Guineas
  • Dragon Leap2nd Trevor Eagle Memorial, 1st Auckland Guineas, 1st Avondale Guineas
  • Den Bosch7th Avondale Guineas
  • Platinum Road4th Waikato Guineas
  • Lochwinnoch4th 3YO Salver, 11th Avondale Guineas
  • Dalmatia9th Avondale Guineas
  • Tibetan3rd Wellington Stakes, 2nd 3YO Salver, 5th Karaka Million 3YO Classic, 4th Avondale Guineas
  • Peloton5th Wellington Stakes, 7th 3YO Salver, 5th Waikato Guineas

Subsequent Group 1 winsEdit

Subsequent wins at Group 1 level by runners in the 2020 New Zealand Derby.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Sherwood Forest outstays them in Derby upset | NZ Racing News".
  2. ^ "James shoots for sixth Derby win | NZ Racing News".
  4. ^ "Thoroughbred Horse Pedigree Query".