Superior Stayer Skylou (NZ) Powers to WA Derby Victory

6 November 2023

Skylou (NZ) (Sweet Lou) produced a powerful staying performance when winning a thrilling edition of the A$200,000 Group One Western Australian Derby (2536m) at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The NZB Standardbred graduate added another victory to trainer Gary Hall’s long list of winners of the classic event with his outstanding display.

Skylou was secured for $25,000 by Peter and Roslyn Brown when he was offered on account of the McGowan Partnership at the 2021 National Yearling Sale at Auckland.

Skylou (NZ) at the
2021 National Standardbred Yealing Sales

Peter Brown produced Skylou to win two of his three starts in New Zealand before he caught the attention of leading Western Australian trainer Gary Hall.

Hall put together a group of owners to purchase the classy pacer, a decision the trainer was thrilled about after Skylou’s big derby win.

“He cost a bit, but it seems cheap now. He’s a nice horse and should keep improving,” Hall said.

Skylou led early in Friday night’s classic, before settling into the trail for driver Maddison Brown.

The New Zealand bred pulled away from the rest of the field on the home turn, to fight out the finish to the Group One feature with the hot favourite Never Ending.

In the end, it was Skylou’s superior staying power which shone through.

“A lap out I was very happy,” Hall said.

“I knew we would run second, but I was still hoping we could win.”

“Halfway around the home turn I knew we were home, he was travelling that well.”

Hall praised Brown for her guiding Skylou home with an outstanding tactical drive.

“Maddison drove a great race, she’s a fantastic driver. Horses just run for her, she gets them out of the gate good, she’s a great driver.”

Skylou will now head for a spell before being aimed at more feature racing.

Fellow NZB Standardbred graduate Im The Black Flash (NZ) (Bettor’s Delight) powered home out of the pack to run third in the Western Australian Derby.

The pacer is another Hall and his stable clients purchased after impressing in his starts in New Zealand.

Im The Black Flash was secured by Neville Cleaver for $140,000 when he was offered among the Studholme Bloodstock draft at the 2021 National Yearling Sale at Christchurch.