Pinarello salutes in the Queensland Derby

Pinarello comes back to the mounting yard following his win in the QLD Derby. (Photo: Darren Winningham)

Co-trainer Roger James’ gut feeling to keep Pinarello racing has paid off after the three-year-old saluted in the $1 million Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm.

The gelding saluted by a little more than a nose after a great ride from Leith Innes, with Paternal second for Chris Waller.

2022 Queensland Derby Replay

After Pinarello finished fifth in the $943,040 NZ Derby (2400m) at Auckland Racing Club on March 5, James’ first thought was to spell his stayer.

“After a week at home I thought ‘holy hell, this horse has come through it well’,” James told Sky Racing.

“And I decided to keep him in, and here’s the result.”

At long last, James could celebrate a Queensland Derby victory after the sought-after 2400m feature.

“I’ve run second and third in the Derby previously. I’ve been placed in Sydney derbies as well. I’ve won five in New Zealand,” he said.

“But to win one in Australia is pretty special.”

James praised the ride of Innes, who found the front at the 300m, and his mount hung on from there.

“What a ride. I felt he could win it with the right ride, and we got the right ride,” he said.

James also said five weeks since Pinarello’s last start – a win in the $113,165 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m) at Auckland Racing Club on April 23 – would do him good heading into Saturday.

“I thought it was a benefit, to be honest,” he said.

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