Mike Moroney’s confidence in Sabrage giving him his third Victoria Derby is growing every day.
Moroney won the Classic with Second Coming (1997) and Monaco Consul two years ago and says Sabrage can get the job done.
“We are starting to get a fair bit of confidence about the horse,” Moroney said.
“The barrier (16) isn’t the best and he is going to need luck but even when you draw a (good) barrier you need luck too.”
Sabrage is $14 in the latest TAB Sportsbet market but Moroney is convincing as he makes his case for the son of Charge Forward who is peaking at the right time after a setback last month derailed his Caulfield Guineas assault.
“We thought he was our Guineas horse when he won his only start as a two-year-old leading all the way over 1200 (metres) at Caulfield on a heavy track and we brought him back in the spring with that in mind,” Moroney said.
However plans went awry when Sabrage needed surgery after knocking two teeth out two days before the Guineas Prelude.
It forced a change of plans and Sabrage disappointed a week later when third in the Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 30.
“He raced as flat as a tack but it could have been the treatment from the operation,” Moroney said.
Now he believes that missing the Guineas may have been a blessing with Sabrage making dramatic improvement in the last month.
Two weeks ago he won the Group Three Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield and on Tuesday delighted jockey Damien Oliver with his best work yet on the track.
“He keeps getting better and better,” Moroney said.
Moroney said frontrunner Second Coming and Monaco Consul were very different horses and that Sabrage fits in between them.
“Second Coming was an out-and-out stayer and had run three weeks straight going into it whereas Monaco Consul had a month between runs going into the Derby and was a horse who didn’t take a lot of work,” Moroney said.
“Sabrage has handled the preparation terrific, is eating up and handling the work and, in front of your eyes, you can see him getting more and more ready and fitter and fitter.
“Tuesday work isn’t the be-all and end-all but he he’s always been a casual worker and he really impressed Ollie.”
Meanwhile, Mick Price is confident Costly Commitment ($21) can finish in the “fat end of the prize money” in Saturday’s feature.
Price has never won the Classic but has trained placegetters from second down to sixth over the years, including Kempinsky who was runner-up to Elvstroem (2003) and Pre Eminence who was third to Rebel Raider and Whobegotyou in 2008.
Costly Commitment has won two of his six starts and finished fourth in the Norman Robinson after being shuffled back in the run.
“It is a bit of a battle for three-year-olds to get 2500 metres at this time of the year but this horse certainly shapes as though he will,” Price said.
Last Saturday’s Vase winner Manawanui remains a strong favourite at $2.50.