A tip from a jockey who is expanding his overseas resume is behind New Zealand colt Sonorous’ last-ditch Queensland Derby bid.
On the advice of Mark Du Plessis, Sonorous will be among a host of three-year-olds in the Evans & Partners Handicap trying to earn a Queensland Derby call-up at Randwick on Saturday.
Du Plessis has taken up a short-term contract in Japan.
But before leaving earlier this month Du Plessis gave trainer Scott Lucock a heads up on what he should be doing with the sparingly raced Sonorous.
A jockey with plenty of international experience, Du Plessis rode Sonorous into the minor placing in the Group Two Championship Stakes at Ellerslie.
He was adamant Sonorous was the unlucky runner in a race where subsequent Randwick winner Romantic Maid lost her rider.
“It was Mark Du Plussis who actually suggested to us we have a crack at the Derby,” Lucock said.
“He swears he should have won that race in Auckland.”
Lucock had hoped to engage Rory Hutchings to ride Sonorous but he was forced to look elsewhere before booking Chris Dell, another New Zealand apprentice riding in Australia.
“When we got hit with sixty kilos we had a rethink,” Lucock said.
“I don’t know any of the other apprentices here in Sydney and all the gun riders are away in Brisbane.
“We took a punt and imported Chris from Queensland. He has ridden a winner for us over Christmas, has ridden a bit for the stable and knows the horse well.
“We just got hold of him on the off chance he might be able to sneak down and do the job for us and he’ll be there with bells on.”
Lucock figures Sonorous needs to run in the top three to have any chance of continuing his Australian campaign in the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on June 11.
“It will be interesting exercise. If it comes off we’ll look like geniuses and if we get our arse kicked we’ll sneak home with our tail between our legs,” he said.
Victorian-trained stayer Raw Impulse continues to attract the most support to win the Listed WJ McKell Cup.
Raw Impulse has firmed to $1.50 to stretch his unbeaten record in Australian under Darren Weir to four wins with Godolphin’s Havana Cooler ($7) and last-start WJ McKell Cup winner Ecuador ($9.50) rated the import’s only dangers.