Alcyone ridden by John Allen wins the Byerley Handicap at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos/Pat Scala)

Alcyone ridden by John Allen wins the Byerley Handicap at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos/Pat Scala)

Alcyone earns Derby tilt

Teofilo colt Alcyone proved he was truly a stayer of the future when he booked himself a spot in the spring’s Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) by fighting on strongly to take the $100,000 Byerley Handicap (1800m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Despite giving punters a few worries close to the line when Johnny Get Angry and the outsider Shadow Prey challenged, Alycone is now off for a short break before being prepared for the spring’s Victoria Derby for which he is now exempt from the ballot.

Jockey John Allen warned that although his winning margin was just three quarters of a length, the performance was better than it appeared as he was worried about leaving him in front too soon after travelling so easily to the leaders on turning for home.

"I didn’t want to get to the front too soon as he’s a bit lairy and he had a good look around when he got there," Allen said.

"He sort of waited for them. Even though he didn’t win by a big margin, I felt like I had a bit left to be honest. When he heard them with maybe 100 metres to go he picked up again.

"He relaxes pretty good. If he got (put under) stronger pressure then you might see a better horse."

Alcyone, defeated Denis Pagan’s promising galloper Johnny Get Angry with Shadow Prey showing his staying ability at just his second race start.

Godolphin stable representative Sean Keogh said the maiden win from Alcyone as a juvenile put him in good stead in the spring.

"He’s a little bit on the green side," he said. "We’re dealing with a big raw colt at the moment."

As for the fourth-placed Choir, Keogh said: "He raced beautifully today. He showed that he’s definitely a city class horse. He just found himself a little bit wanting late, three lengths off the winner, and we’re really happy with him."

Alcyone is surely bred to run a classic distance as he is out of the dual Group 1 winner Purple, who took the Storm Queen Stakes (2000m) and Queensland Oaks (2400m) in 2009.