Cranbourne trainer Greg Eurell’s plan to chase a consolation Derby win with Fontein Lad moved up a notch when the gelding scored a tough victory on Wednesday.
Fontein Lad was one of 24 horses paid up for the Group One Queensland Derby on Wednesday morning and five hours later he won a $50,000 three-year-old race at Ipswich.
Jockey Nikita Berriman walked the Ipswich course before the first and it came in handy as she handled the favourite Fontein Lad ($2.15) perfectly to beat The Barracuda ($51) by a neck with a long neck to Wake Up Victa ($51).
Fontein Lad was originally set for last month’s South Australian Derby but was second emergency and then drew the outside barrier before being scratched.
He went to Caulfield where he was an unlucky second which encouraged Eurell to look north.
“He is in the Queensland Derby, he can handle wet and dry tracks and he is racing well,” Eurell said.
“He didn’t look totally at home at his first go on a clockwise track so he will improve.”
Berriman, who will retain the ride in the Derby, said it had been a strong win on a tricky track.
Eurell and Berriman can also take heart from last year when Provocative won midweek race at Ipswich and went on to win the Group One Queensland Oaks.
The Barracuda and Wake Up Victa were numbers 22 and 23 on the Queensland Derby ballot order but will move up a few places after picking up $10,000 and $5000 respectively in Wednesday’s race.
Fontein Lad is easily in the Derby field and is a $13 chance with most bookmakers.
Trainer Matt Dunn believes impressive first-start maiden winner Divine Unicorn ($5.50) has a lot of developing to do before reaching his best.
“He was bought in England so he is six months younger than other three year olds. He has had four trials trying to help him catch up to the others,
“He won three of them and the most recent was on a wet track at the Gold Coast.”