Gouldian doesn’t have the brilliance of last year’s Moonee Valley Vase winner Savvy Nature but trainer John O’Shea is convinced he is a superior stayer.
O’Shea, the head trainer for Godolphin in Australia, is chasing his second straight win in the 2040-metre race for three-year-olds – a race both he and jockey James McDonald expect to provide a pointer to the Victoria Derby.
“Gouldian is probably a bit more dour and Savvy (Nature) was probably a bit more brilliant,” O’Shea said when asked to compare the two.
Gouldian won over 1600m at Warwick Farm last start and is among the fancied runners for Saturday’s Group Two race.
Savvy Nature was a dominant winner in last year’s Vase before failing in the Derby as the $4 favourite.
Gouldian is at $13 in Victoria Derby betting but can stamp his claims with a big performance on Saturday.
“I’m more confident in him (Gouldian) running the trip (in the Derby) than I was with Savvy Nature,” O’Shea said.
James McDonald has ridden Gouldian in two of his past three starts, including his last-start win, and was impressed with how the colt handled Moonee Valley in a trackwork gallop with stablemate and Cox Plate runner Sweynesse.
“It’s a very strong field but if he can run well, he’s definitely a Derby hope,” McDonald said.