Gai Waterhouse has as much confidence about Hampton Court in the Victoria Derby as she did about Fiorente winning last year’s Melbourne Cup.
Fiorente gave Waterhouse her first Melbourne Cup win and the trainer can not see Hampton Court being beaten in Saturday’s $1.5 million Victoria Derby.
“Having Hampton Court is a bit like having Fiorente in the Cup. I knew I had the best horse,” Waterhouse said after watching the colt work impressively at Flemington on Tuesday.
Hampton Court galloped on the course proper with stablemate Diamond Drille, a Group One winner during the Sydney autumn carnival.
Waterhouse said the colt’s work was outstanding and reinforced her belief she had the dominant horse for this year’s Classic.
“It will take an outstanding horse to beat him. I think he’ll win easily,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s got everything you look for in a Derby colt. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s got a superb temperament and he can stay.”
Waterhouse won the 1995 Derby with Nothin’ Leica Dane who backed up three days later to run second to Doriemus in the Melbourne Cup.
Hampton Court is the clear-cut Derby favourite after wins in his past two starts in the Dulcify Quality and Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in Sydney.
He defeated First Seal and Sweynesse in a testing Spring Champion Stakes.
His path to Flemington ensures he will be out to emulate Monaco Consul who won the Victoria Derby in 2009 at his next start after taking out the Spring Champion.
Three Spring Champion Stakes winners have gone on to claim the Derby, including Nothin’ Leica Dane, who won the Norman Robinson Stakes in between.
Waterhouse is comfortable with her decision not to run Hampton Court in the Cox Plate.
“He was set for the Derby. I was hoping he was going to be good enough. He is good enough,” Waterhouse said.
“I felt that Moonee Valley was too tight a course for him. I think he needs a track like this to see the best of him.”