Hugh Bowman has never ridden Shards, but the in-form jockey is hoping he is on the Godolphin colt at the right time as chases for more Victoria Derby glory.
Bowman has won the Victoria Derby three times since 2010 on Lion Tamer, Sangster (2011) and Polanski (2013).
Godolphin’s retained jockey James McDonald elected earlier this week to ride Etymology with Bowman hoping his fellow Sydney hoop has got it wrong.
Sydney’s premier rider was taken by the son of Medaglia D’Oro’s effort at Moonee Valley last Saturday when he was chased down late by Jameka.
“He’s a horse I’ve had nothing to do with so it’s hard to be too judgmental of him, either positive or negative,” Bowman said.
“But just watching his run on Saturday my first thought was, `that was a good Derby trial’.
“Even though he was found wanting late in the piece, I thought he set up a pretty good gallop.”
Godolphin representative Darren Beadman said Shards caught McDonald by surprise when he asked him to quicken a fair way from home, and the horse “probably quickened a bit too well”.
Bowman believes if Shards can stay 2500m and show a turn of speed then he’ll be in the mix.
“Can he stay, I don’t know? You’re not going to know until he’s asked the question, but if he can and he can show that turn of foot, I wouldn’t rather be on anything else.”
Etymology put his Derby credentials on show with an encouraging third in the Caulfield Classic last start.
Beadman says the colt has already done a tremendous job in his first racing preparation.
“He’s gone from a maiden to running in the Derby and I thought his run in the Caulfield Classic had a lot of merit,” Beadman said.
“He didn’t have a lot of luck at the top of the straight and his momentum was impeded. He was good late.”
Derby favourite Tarzino came from last to finish an eye-catching third behind Jameka and Shards last week and will be out to give his trainer Mick Price a first Victoria Derby win.
“He’s had a good week and I think he’s in the right spot,” Price said.