Peter Moody’s chances of winning the Group One Queensland Derby rest with Upham following the scratching of stablemate Inauguration on Thursday.
Upham, an $11 chance, is by European staying sire Mastercraftsman who shuttled to Windsor Park in New Zealand for several seasons from Coolmore in Ireland.
Part-owned by Moody’s wife Sarah, Upham is yet to miss a place in three Queensland runs.
The three-year-old finished second in the Gunsynd Classic at the Gold Coast and filled the same position behind Derby rival Sadler’s Laker in the Rough Habit Plate at Doomben.
He posted his first black-type win in the Group Three Grand Prix Stakes (2020m) two weeks ago and Moody admits his respect for Upham is growing with each start.
“He seems to be improving with every run,” Moody said.
“He will roll forward and put himself in the race. I would also expect him to have no trouble with the 2200 metres.
“Whether he can win a Group One is up in the air at this stage of his career but he is fit and well so he will have his chance.”
New Zealander Werther is a dominant $2.80 favourite to win Saturday’s feature after following a second to Delicacy in the SA Derby with an emphatic win over older horses in the Eagle Farm Cup last weekend.
He holds market sway over Victorian Master Of Arts at $4.50 with Sadler’s Lake the only other runner under double-figure odds at $9.
Moody will also launch a Group One bid with two-year-old Bassett in the J J Atkins.
The youngster shares the second line of betting at $5 after scoring an impressive win at his only start at Caulfield last month.
“I have had this race in mind for him and I have always intended to run him provided he travelled well up here,” Moody said.