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Punters are backing David Payne’s Criterion to emulate It’s A Dundeel and take out the Rosehill Guineas/Australian Derby double and have installed him the $3.50 favourite for Saturday’s $2M feature. The place-getters in the Rosehill Guineas, Thunder Fantasy and Teronado are rated $8 and $10 chances to turn the tables on Criterion with New Zealand Derby winner Puccini, who wasn’t able to produce his best in the Rosehill Guineas, his first Australian starts, after the saddle shifted, is the only other runner under double figures at $8.


Australian Derby Form Guide


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1. CRITERION – J Bowman (1)

Was looking for further ground when eighth (3.9 lengths) in the G1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) two starts ago and got it, and a charmed run, at his following start in the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m). Sticking to the fence when the rest of the field fanned around the turn, the son of Sebring saved considerable ground before relishing the soft conditions and winning by 3 ½ lengths. Will get back in the field again from the inside gate and whilst chances of getting another run like he did last start are slim, he’s in the type of form that’ll see him make his own luck.

Odds: $3.50


2. PUCCINI – C Williams (11)

He won three in a row in his native land of New Zealand, including the NZ Derby, before crossing the Tasman and lining up as favourite in the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) a fortnight ago. Not much went right for the colt by Encosta De Lago though with the saddle shifting and he not seeming to appreciate the soft conditions which he was experiencing for the first time. Best to overlook that run and go on his NZ form which is very good on dead or better rated tracks, and that might be the key to his success.

Odds: $8.00


3. THUNDER FANTASY – D Oliver (8)

Found the older horses too strong in the G1 Australian Cup when eighth (four lengths) behind Fiorente before appreciating returning to his own age in the Rosehill Guineas (2000m). Anthony Cummings’ colt secured a lovely run throughout from a good draw and made his run leaving the 500m, coming wide around the turn. Winner got a charmed run and his effort to run second (3 ½ lengths) was good and continued his solid form against his own generation. Sure to be right in the mix again.

Odds: $7.00


4. SAVVY NATURE – J McDonald (12)

The Savabeel gelding has had three starts back from a spell now and finished just outside of the placings in each of them. He appeared to be looking for more ground in the Randwick Guineas when seventh of fourteen (3.7 lengths) behind Dissident before finishing well to run fourth (5.1 lengths) in the G1 Rosehill Guineas to Criterion. Last start was on a slow track and his record would suggest he’s more effective on top of the ground.

Odds: $10.00


5. TERANODO – C Newitt (10)

At each of his five starts this campaign, the Testa Rossa gelding has been seen getting home well to finish in most cases, just behind the place-getters. Outside of the winner, he produced the run of the race in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) to finish fourth (1.7 lengths) behind Dissident before contesting the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) where he was ridden a little closer to the speed than normal. He again made steady ground but not at the rate of his previous efforts and ran third (5 lengths) behind Criterion. Steps behind 2000m for the first time but has been finishing too well in the lead up races to leave out.

Odds: $10.00


6. KOROIBETE – D Browne (6)

Gerald Ryan galloper who was developing nicely in weaker races during the end of the last year but since returning to contest the better grade of races this campaign, has been found to come up short. He ran tenth in the G1 Randwick Guineas and finished in the same position again last week in the G2 Tulloch Stakes, seven lengths behind Gallatin. It is hard to see him winning on that kind of lead up form.

Odds: $67.00


7. SURGE AHEAD – Z Purton (15)

Rounded out his last campaign with a tough win in the Listed Connoisseur Stakes (1700m) at Flemington on Oaks day and returned to racing in February of this year. The gelding by Danehill Dancer has had four runs back with the pick of them coming two starts ago when third to Pheidon in the G2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley. His most recent effort saw him, as he generally does, take up a forward position but unable to maintain his position and battling on for seventh (7.9 lengths) in the G1 Rosehill Guineas. A dour type who may lack the bit of class record to win a Derby.

Odds: $51.00


8. GALLANTIN – N Rawiller (17)

Darley runner who finished his first campaign off by running third to Surge Ahead in the Listed Connoisseur Stakes (1700m) before a fourteen week spell and returning to racing in February. Found the distances of his first three races a touch too short but relished the step up to a solidly run 2000m of the G2 Tulloch Stakes last week and the heavy conditions, to come with a big finish that saw him claim the event by a head from Singing Flame. Takes on the best of his generation for the first time here but the 2400m will not be a problem for him neither a wet track. Draw is awkward but he came with a big finish from an improbable position on the turn last start to score.

Odds: $17.00


9. HOOKED – B Shinn (3)

Casino Prince colt who still only has the two wins from thirteen starts to his name – they being the first two starts of his career in Queensland. He has contested some of the leading 3yo races during the spring and again in four starts this campaign but continues to find himself at least a length or two off the pace. He struck a dry track for the first time this prep in the G1 Randwick Guineas and ran a cheeky fifth behind Dissident but back on a slow track, only held his spot when fifth (6 lengths) to Criterion.

Odds: $17.00


10. BEST CASE – C Reith (13)

A promising staying type by Savabeel who has won three of his ten starts including his first up run this campaign at Wyong three starts back. The Savabeel gelding settled back, came wide and finished well in the G2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) for a fifth (2.4 lengths) behind Traitor before again doing his best work in the final stages of the race when third (2.2 lengths) behind Gallatin in the G2 Tulloch Stakes. Gives the indication that the distance of the Derby should be no problem and looking for one who might add value to the exotics, he’d be a leading candidate.

Odds: $41.00


11. CRIME FIGHTER – L Nolen (5)

Made it two wins from three starts with a solid 2 ½ length in an Open 3yo (2040m) race at Moonee Valley last start. The son of Street Hero competed in some of the good 3yo races last spring but was well accounted for in each attempt. Going betting this time and whilst the jump in grade is significant, last start’s win was strong and note that his trainer Peter Moody is also listed as part-owner.

Odds: $21.00


12. TUPAC AMARU – K McEvoy (4)

Dour type from the Darley operation whose only win in nine starts has been a Ballarat Maiden (1600m). The Street Cry colt has had three starts this time in with the most recent being a ninth of fifteen (8.2 lengths) in the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m). Didn’t see anything in that run or his one prior to suggest he could win this.

Odds: $17.00


13. SINGING FLAME – T Clark (2)

Kevin Moses’ colt produced a strong effort to score a BM 70 (1800m) at Kensington two starts ago before producing an enormous run last week in the G2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill. He jumped from the widest gate in the field of sixteen, was posted out deep without cover for a majority of the race before making his run at the 500m and leading the field by three lengths soon after straightening. He was left a sitting shot for something late and that something was Gallatin who claimed him on the line by a head. Deserved to win last start, drawn much better here and has already firmed a touch from $15.00 to $13.00. Any rain will not harm his chances.

Odds: $15.00


14. CADILLAC MOUNTAIN – C Schofield (16)

Well bred son of Reset who caught the eye at each of his first two runs back this prep including a second in the G2 Alister Clark (2040m) to Pheidon at Moonee Valley before coming to Sydney and contesting the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m). Didn’t look at all comfortable on the soft track and was under pressure on early in the straight at the tail of the field but was even late, finishing eighth (8.1 lengths) behind Criterion. Shows plenty of promise but needs a dry track to produce his best and possibly a few more months.

Odds: $21.00


15. SOLO SAGA – J Cassidy (14)

A Queensland galloper who recorded his third career win two starts back, coming from a long way back on the turn to claim a restricted race at Doomben from Kentaur. He followed that effort up with by running second to Kiss Me Deadly last week over 1615m, again at Doomben. There are easier races than this eligible for him.

Odds: $101.00


16. MOUNTAIN VIEW – J Moreira (18)

Started the 7/2 favourite two starts back but let the punters down when third of nine (2 ¾ lengths) in a BM 70 (1800m) at Kensington. That didn’t deter trainer John Sargent from lining up in the G2 Tulloch Stakes at his next and most recent start where he got through the conditions better than most to run fourth (2.6 lengths) behind Gallatin and Singing Flame. Hard to see him turning the tables on that pair let alone some of the other competitors in the race.

Odds: $81.00


17. SURGING WAVE – M Rodd (9)

David Hayes’ galloper recorded his second career win, at start number ten, last time out when successful in a RST 64 (2025m) at Cranbourne where, under 59kgs, he finished well from the second half of the field to record a 1 ¼ length win. He’ll get some confidence out of last start but not enough to be winning here.

Odds: $81.00


18. HEREDECASINO –            (7)

Ran last two starts ago in a Newcastle Maiden and is only in here so owners get tickets for a good day’s racing.

Odds: $1001.00


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Can’t go past the place-getters from the Rosehill Guineas as the leading chances in this race with the quinella from last week’s Tulloch Stakes included as the value chances. Bowman is in exceptional form as the moment as is his horse Criterion and together they create a formidable partnership in this race. They’ll make their own luck from the inside draw and be finishing hard. In the case they are unable to, Thunder Fantasy will be in the right position during the race to pounce. He’ll settle a little handier to the speed than most of the other leading chances and his going very well. Teronado’s hand was forced a little last start when drawing barrier 3 to settle a little closer to the speed than normal. That just seemed to dull his normally strong finishing burst but from gate 10 today, he’s perfectly poised to be ridden cold and come with a big finish.

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