Godolphin colt Nozomi has held off a late charge from favourite Preferment in the Listed Geelong Classic to put himself in the Victoria Derby picture.
The Anthony Freedman-trained Nozomi, sporting the famous royal blue colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation, has moved to $11 for the Derby at Flemington on Saturday week.
After settling in a good position two pairs from the lead, Nozomi ($14) moved into the race from the top of the straight and fended off the challenge from Miracle The Second ($5) before Preferment ($2.90) got going and dived late.
But the Chris Waller-trained Preferment, who is on the second line of Derby betting behind Spring Champion Stakes winner Hampton Court, just failed by a nose to overhaul Nozomi at the end of the 2200m.
“He’s taking a little while to put everything together,” jockey Dwayne Dunn said of Nozomi.
“Today he fought off the third horse really good and then the second horse really came at him hard late.
“He will stay and he’s got the talent to be in a good race. Hopefully that comes along sooner rather than later.”
Damien Oliver said Preferment was under pressure coming to the turn but the let down strongly the last 100 metres.
“He’ll love Flemington and the extra distance,” Oliver said.