In 2008, the year before his galloper Shocking won the Melbourne Cup, prominent owner Laurence Eales had the odds-on favourite for the Victorian Derby with Whobegotyou. However Eales was left as stunned as most on the course that day when 100/1 rank outsider Rebel Raider finished too well for Whobegotyou and the Eales camp had to settle for second. Eales will be hoping his galloper Bondeiger ($9.00), who has been the subject of good support in early markets after his finishing effort in last week’s Moonee Valley Vase caught the eye of punters, can finally deliver him the time-honoured event. Clear favourite for the race is Hampton Court ($2.70) for Gai Waterhouse who will be looking for her second VRC Derby after Nothin’ Leica Dane took at the 1995 edition. He comes off two strong wins, the most recent being in the Spring Champion, a race that has seen recent winners figure prominently in the Derby. If successful, Hampton Court will emulate the feat of Monaco Consul who won the double in consecutive starts back in 2009. The owners of Preferment ($5.00) already have a Derby trophy on the mantle-piece, thanks to Shoot Out’s win in the AJC Derby of 2010, but after their colt’s slashing second in the Geelong Classic, they looks a very good chance of adding another. The only other runner under double figure odds is Moonovermanattan who, as last week’s winner of the Moonee Valley Vase, will be hoping to become the first winner of the double since Efficient, who was also a grey, in 2006.
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1. HAMPTON COURT – K McEvoy (11)
The son of Redoute’s Choice has blossomed in the last month as his racing gets over longer journeys. He found his way out of a tight spot in the straight to run down stable-mate Duccio and win the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m), comfortably on the line, by ¾ of a length before taking on the G1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m). The betting for the race was dominated by First Seal and Sweynesse and the pair looked set to fight out the finish as they topped the Randwick rise but Hampton Court, who followed Sweynesse throughout, extended too well over the final stages to win by 2 lengths. His ratings have continued to rise sharply this campaign and hard to see him not being involved in the finish.
2. MOONOVERMANHATTAN – C Newitt (12)
Settled in a good spot on the leader’s (Rich Enuff) back in the G1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) two starts back but couldn’t match the acceleration of that horse and winner Shooting To Win in the run home, holding his ground to run seventh (3.9 lengths). Drew wide at his next start, last week’s Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) and was sent to the front by Craig Newitt to behind the leader again, before seeing the extended trip out well and winning his second career start by 1 ¾ lengths. Shapes up well for this race and has the ability to take up a forward position.
3. PRENTICE – L Nolen (6)
After producing two poor efforts at his most recent outings, it’ll be no surprise to see this Western Australian galloper start at big odds here. He finished last of eight in an Open BM 64 (2000m) in his home-state before making the trip across to Victoria and lining up in the G2 Moonee Valley Vase. He failed to worry most of his competitors from the back of the field, finishing second to last and sixteen lengths from the winner and would think that’ll again be the case on Saturday.
4. FIREHOUSE ROCK – N Hall (10)
Settled midfield in the running line when contesting the Caulfield Classic (2000m) last start and was the first to show his hand as he slid forward three wide from the 800m. The son of Fastnet Rock joined in strongly as the field swung for home and took the lead half-way up the straight before the fillies Fontein Ruby and Crafty ran passed him in the last 50m. Would’ve like to have seen him finish the job last start but have to consider he was three wide for the last half-mile.
5. MAGICOOL – G Boss (16)
Settled three back the fence and was forced to check off heels at the 600m, shuffling him back in the field as they rounded the turn in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) last start. He got himself into some opening space in the straight and finished fifth (2.9 lengths) behind Fontein Ruby. Traffic on the turn wasn’t ideal last start but the leaders were pulling away from him on the line. Stable ran second in this race in 2012 edition of this race with Super Cool who had stronger lead-up form.
6. LOTION – M Walker (5)
The Good Journey gelding was successfully sent to Adelaide by his trainers Hayes/Dabernig two starts back where he claimed the Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m), holding on from an on-pace position to win by ¾ length. He returned to Victoria for the Geelong Classic (2200m) and pushed forward again, settling second early before finding himself in the one/one position down the back straight. He eased out rounding the turn but his effort was short-lived and he weakened from there to the line, eventually running twelfth in the field of fourteen and over nine lengths from the winner. Can’t win this race of that effort.
7. NOZOMI – D Dunn (13)
After narrowly securing his maiden victory in a Kyneton Maiden (1700m), the Godolphin Street Cry colt secured a lovely run in transit at this his next start, the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m), settling three back in the running line. He peeled out turning for home and found enough to initially defy the challenge of Miracle To Second (3rd) and finding the line a nostril in front of the fast finishing Preferment. Meets a stronger field here and would’ve liked to have seen him win with more authority last start after a sweet run.
8. LIGHT UP MANHATTAN – M Zahra (7)
He recorded his maiden win three starts back with a long neck victory in a Wangaratta Maiden (1590m) before stepping up dramatically in class and finishing midfield (six lengths) in the Listed UCI Stakes (1700m) behind Magicool. His most recent start was in the Caulfield Classic where from a good draw, jockey Dwayne Dunn found a lovely spot just off the speed. He followed eventual winner Fontein Ruby into the straight and got plenty of room closer to the fence and his opportunity to reel her in. He finished fourth (1.9 lengths) from the winner. The Ciaron Maher trained galloper his improving with each run this prep but not at a rate to be winning this.
9. BONDEIGER – J Winks (1)
The son of War Pass had plenty of work to do to ensure he won the BM 78 (1600m) two starts back defeating Royal Standing by a nose, before lining up in the G2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) last week. He settled well back in the run and when trying to save ground rounding the turn, suffered interference at a crucial stage before finishing his race off in good style, running seventh (3.9 lengths) behind Mooneovermanhattan. Got too far back last start in a race run to suit those closer to the speed but there was a lot to like about his final 100m. The extra trip and bigger track suit and provided he gets away from the rails with plenty of time to wind up, will be right in the finish here.
10. ROYAL STANDING – D Lane (15)
After being shaded on the line by Bondeiger in a BM 78 (1600m) at Caulfield, the Stratum colt then lined up in the G2 Moonee Valley Vase and secured a lovely run on the leader’s back in the run. When the pace picked up at the 600m, he chased well and despite becoming unbalanced on the turn when bumping with Chivalry, stuck on tenaciously to run an honest fourth (2.1 lengths) behind Moonovermanhattan. Doing the best he can at the moment but that mightn’t be enough to win a Derby.
11. ATMOSPHERE – J Moreira (4)
He recorded his third consecutive second placing when finding Moonovermanhattan a shade too good in the G2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) last week. The Kiwi galloper was given every chance in the run by Nash Rawiller from a good draw, but couldn’t reel in the winner. Has had his chance the last two starts and will get his opportunity again here after drawing perfectly in gate four.
12. GOULDIAN – J McDonald (3)
At his most recent start, the sixth of his career, the Godolphin runner broke his maiden status with a tough on-pace win a Warwick Farm Maiden (1600m), defeating Our Catch by a small margin with Preferment fourth. Scratched from last Saturday’s Moonee Valley Vase meaning the above run was his most recent and that he’s faced with huge jump in distance here. A challenge that will take a remarkable effort to meet.
13. PREFERMENT – D Oliver (6)
Has started a short priced favourite in each of his past three starts with the most recent being a fast-finishing second to Nozomi the Geelong Classic (2200m). The son of Zabeel who races in the same colours as ATC Derby winner Shoot Out, settled worse than midfield in the running line last start and was scrubbed up from the 800m, causing concern for those who took the short price about the favourite. He was still several lengths off the leader half-way down the straight but once he put the mind on the job, flew the last bit to just miss out on claiming his first win. Distance certainly no problem given the way he finished off at Geelong and winkers go on to ensure his mind’s on the job for the duration of the race. Hard to find a better trial for the Derby than his and Flemington track will be right up his alley.
14. CUBAN FIGHTER – V Duric (9)
Finishing in the money for the first time in six starts when second in a Sale Maiden (1740m) two starts back before battling home better than his 100/1 quote would’ve suggesting in the G3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) last start when seventh (4.9 lengths) behind Fontein Ruby. Dour type who batted away last start and hard to see him, despite the step up in distance being in his favour, making the improvement required off of last run to win here.
15. SAN PADRE – T Berry (2)
Made his debut at Sale three runs back in a maiden race over 1717m which he narrowly won. The Teofilo has subsequently contested the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) and last week’s G2 Moonee Valley Vase where he has been well accounted for in both, finish fifth (6.1 lengths) and eighth (7.2 lengths) respectively. Can’t win this race on those two runs.
16. THE MIGHTY JROD – (17)
Inching closing to breaking his maiden status is this Pentire gelding who ran a neck second in a Mornington Maiden (2449m) two starts back before a solid effort in the Geelong Classic (2200m). He moved forward passing the 1000m metres to take up the running as the field headed for home and stuck on very well, running fourth (1.3 lengths) behind Nozomi and Preferment. A tough one-pacer who will see the trip out but who may not have the class of some of his rivals.
17. VERREAUX – B Shinn (14)
The Street Cry colt’s best result in five starts to date has been a third placing in a Bendigo Maiden (1600m) but he did finish steadily from last in the Geelong Classic last start, running seventh (4.2 lengths) behind Nozomi and Preferment. Showing some improvement as his races get longer in distance but will find this beyond his capabilities.
Hampton Court and the promising Preferment, as the market suggests, stand out here. Like the way Hampton Court finishing off in the Spring Champion, which in recent years has been pointer to this race, whilst Preferment is still untapped by showing a bucket load of potential. Both should get the right kind of run here midfield after drawing well enough and they’ll be charging late, as will Bondeiger. No surprise to see plenty of betting activity around this bloke in early markets after the way he finished off in the Vase last week.
- HAMPTON COURT