The past 149 editions of the AJC Australian Derby has been won by some of the best racehorses from Australasia…Gloaming in 1918, Pharlap in 1929, Hall Mark in 1933, Tulloch in 1957, and in more recent times Kingston Town, Bonecrusher, Sky Heights and Starcraft. On Saturday Jimmy Choux, arguably the best galloper to come from New Zealand since after Sunline, will strive to etch his name on the honour roll of this great race.
The kiwi wonder horse has won 10 of his 17 starts with several of those wins at Group One level. He toughed it out like a champion to win the New Zealand Derby on a bog track before stepping onto Aussie soil for the first time in the Rosehill Guineas, the best form reference for the Australian Derby. Many questioned his ability due to the fact he was beating average horses and that the Australian three-year-olds were superior. He had his critics. The trainer John Bary had his critics.
He was a drifting $4.60 favourite for the Rosehill Guineas. He sat fifth, about four lengths from the leader Retrieve, who was controlling the race up front. At the 600m Retrieve upped the tempo and seemingly had the race won at the 300m but then the kiwi star peeled out and produced a stellar final furlong to pick up Rerieve and race away for a top win. It was Bonecrusher-like the way he attacked the line.
He has come on since that run and worked strongly at Warwick Farm on Tuesday morning. Bary believes the horse is ‘ready to rumble’ and that he is ‘quietly confident’. He has drawn gate one which may be against him but he is the best three-year-old in the land and will win. My suggestion would be to have the Jimmy Choux- Black Caviar double because they’ll both be short, but they’ll both win.
Are there any dangers? I don’t think so but we know there is no such thing as a certainty in racing. Retrieve was a massive flop in the Tulloch after being ridden cold. McEvoy has to let the colt bowl along in front and make the kiwi work for the win. He was very good in the Rosehill Guineas and at his best, he’d give Jimmy Choux a fright.
Masquerader threatens to win a good race, but gee he doesn’t produce it on race day. Travelled well in the Rosehill Guineas but he just battled to the line. Schofield jumps on board and he steps up to 2400m which will suit. Zero from two at Randwick is a worry though.
If there is to be a serious challenger to Jimmy Choux, it’s his kiwi counterpart He’s Remarkable. Didn’t handle the bog track in the New Zealand Derby, then found the line really nicely in the Rosehill Guineas. If you want to have a saver on a horse to cover Jimmy Choux, back this one.
Light Brigade has toughed it out at his past couple when sitting on the speed. He toughed it out well in the Rosehill Guineas and he looks like he’ll get the dream run here. Definite quinella chance.
I Think I Do ran on well behind Fast Clip in the Tulloch Stakes and on the bigger track he can certainly be in the finish. Bart trains him and the way he has gone at his last couple suggests he’ll be firing here.
King Gladiator was the eye-catcher in the Tulloch Stakes, but his only win was a Hawkesbury maiden. If he gets the right run, a possible first four finish is on the cards.
The filly Shamrocker was outsprinted in the Rosehill Guineas but still found the line well on the inside. The bigger track will help her and we know she’ll run the distance out strongly as she is Oaks placed behind Brazilian Pulse at Flemington.
Jimmy Choux will win with normal luck. He is just better than these. He’s Remarkable is the big improver stepping up in journey. The track needs to dry out for him to show his best. I Think I Do has the Bart polish so you have to include him in your exotics while Light Brigade has improved with each run this prep and looks ready to produce a good one here. Retrieve will be there when the whips are cracking if McEvoy rolls forward and leads. Standout Jimmy Choux and box the other seven horses mentioned above for the first four and you can’t go wrong.
Written by Adam Page
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