Doubts over the strength of the form from an eye-catching placing have forced a change in plans for Victoria Derby aspirant Eagle Command.
Eagle Command is a confirmed runner in Wednesday’s $100,000 Geelong Classic (2200m) – a Listed race which is a traditional lead-up to the Victoria Derby.
It’s also a race that has suddenly appeared on Eagle Command’s spring radar.
Trainer Gary Portelli and his brother Troy ruled out another run before the Derby following the three-year-old’s come-from-behind second to Isopach in a Listed 1800m race at Flemington on October 2.
“The form from that race looks a bit dubious now after Isopach finished down the track at Caulfield on Saturday,” Portelli said.
“Going into a race like the Victoria Derby you want to know you’ve got one that is good enough.
“At least with the Geelong Classic the horse will get a chance to prove himself.”
In first TAB Sportsbet markets, Eagle Command shared Classic favouritism at $4.20 with South Australian galloper Perfect Punch.
Eagle Command is one of the least experienced runners in contention for Saturday week’s $1.5 million Victoria Derby (2500m).
He will be lining up for his fourth run on Wednesday after an inauspicious start to his career at Geelong on August 19.
Finishing last of 11 runners, Eagle Command was beaten 22 lengths but rebounded at $71 to win his next start at Kyneton.
Despite his sprinting genes, Derby plans became a reality when Eagle Command came from a long way back to finish second to Isopach in the UCI Stakes.
“On his pedigree you wouldn’t think he would get further than seven furlongs (1400m) but it seems like the more ground the better for him,” Portelli said.
The Geelong Classic attracted a capacity field of 16 at acceptance time but Sydney three-year-old Power Broker is an early scratching.