New Zealand star Jimmy Choux will have 13 rivals at Randwick on Saturday as he aims to become a dual Derby winner.
The colt is the steady $2 favourite for the AJC Australian Derby (2400m) after a scintillating display to win the Rosehill Guineas last Saturday week.
Former second favourite for the Classic, Absolutelyawesome, was not among the final acceptors with trainer Mike Moroney saying he would not be ready after suffering a foot abscess.
Jimmy Choux won the New Zealand Derby despite trainer John Bary’s belief he is not a true stayer but is simply better than most three-year-olds.
He drew barrier one for the Australian Derby which Bary said probably wasn’t ideal but was better than many alternatives.
“We would actually prefer to be out a little bit so we can take a position one out and two or three back,” Bary said.
“But it is what it is and we’ll go with the punches and it’s up to Jonathan (Riddell) now to put him in the race where he wants him.”
Riddell, who rode in New Zealand at the weekend, came to Sydney with Bary for the week’s lead-up to the Derby.
Bary said he thought it was essential to keep the team together.
“It’s very important to me to have Jonathan with the horse,” he said.
“He knows him inside out and can judge how he is.
“And I think Jimmy Choux is better now than he was before the Guineas.
“His work was great today, he was having a play and a little buck going out to the track so we can’t fault him.
“There’ll be no excuses from our camp.”
Retrieve, who drew barrier 12, is second favourite with TAB Sportsbet at $7 despite his sixth as the $1.70 favourite in Saturday’s Tulloch Stakes.
Shamrocker, the only filly in the race, is a $9 chance and will be ridden by Glen Boss who was aboard when she won the Australian Guineas.
Boss opted to ride Absolutelyawesome in the Rosehill Guineas with Damien Oliver steering Shamrocker to third.
After Absolutelyawesome’s eighth in the Guineas, Boss jumped ship and went back to Shamrocker with Oliver booked for Absolutelyawesome and now without a Derby mount.
Provincial horses High Density from Joe Cleary’s Queanbeyan stable and Ducarius who is prepared by Paul Perry at Newcastle are the outsiders in the Derby at $301.
Light Brigade ($13) will be out to give trainer Gai Waterhouse her first win in the AJC Australian Derby while I Think I Do ($15) can give Bart Cummings his sixth.