Next week’s Caulfield Guineas is a doubt but the Victoria Derby is very much on the program for Lloyd Williams-owned three-year-old Collar.
Having only his third race start, the son of O’Reilly and 1999 Caulfield Cup placegetter Laebeel was dominant as he raced away to a 1-1/4 length-win in Sunday’s Listed Westfield Doncaster Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Nick Hall rode the lightly raced gelding who made it look like a track gallop as he sat second, a length outside the leader First Course, before drawing clear of that horse to win as he liked by 1-1/4 lengths.
Country-trained Hell’s Kitchen finished strongly on the outside from last to finish third.
Collar won his race debut at Swan Hill in a two-year-old June event that has become famous for producing other debut winners such as half brothers Elvstroem (2003) and Haradasun (2006).
Elvstroem went on to win the 2003 Victoria Derby and hopes are Collar can emulate the feat.
Nick Williams, who part-owns Collar with his father, said the gelding was still in the Caulfield Guineas but was unlikely to run.
“I will leave that to Dad but I thought at this point, given he’s had three starts, that probably it might be a bit much for him but he will decide that during the week,” Williams said.
“He is a big raw sort of horse and has a great staying future ahead of him.”
Williams said the stable was mindful of not overtaxing Collar but the Derby was a logical target.
“I would have thought that is exactly where he would be headed the way he went,” Williams said.
“We will wait and see as the horse is in his first preparation.
“He might last one more run, he might last four more runs. You have just got to let them tell you.”
A $160,000 yearling, Collar is a half brother to Larry’s Never Late who finished sixth to Rebel Raider in the 2008 Victoria Derby.
Hall said Collar was “a free rolling type” who would only get better.
“I think he is one of our best but he has long way to go and a lot to learn,” Hall said.
“You will see a lot more of him. I like him a lot.”