This Saturday while the 2011 Golden Slipper takes centre stage at Rosehill, Western Australia’s Ascot Racecourse will also be host to an excellent showdown with the $500,000 Group 1 WATC Derby (2400m) taking place.
The 2011 Schweppes W.A.T.C. Derby has drawn a final field of 16 three-year-old stayers lead by Neville Parnham’s star colt Playing God.
An ultra consistent son of boom sire Blackfriars, Playing God steps up to 2400m for the first time on Saturday but boasts one of the best records at the Ascot track of the Derby field.
Last season Playing God enjoyed four wins from five starts including victories in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) in November and the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 4.
After winning the Magic Millions 3YO Trophy here first-up on February 12, Parnham took Playing God to Melbourne for the first time where he finished a game third in both the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) and Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
In both his Group 1 assignments at Flemington Playing God struck interference and still managed to finish in the money.
Last start he ran second as the beaten favourite in the Listed Raconteur Stakes (1500m) and despite a wide barrier 11 draw in the WATC Derby should be back in top form.
Jockey Steven Parnham, son of trainer Neville, stated that the increase in distance provided by the Derby should suite Playing God after the colt raced dour in the Raconteur.
Another top fancy in this year’s WATC Derby field that has suffered a blow with a wide barrier draw is Grant William’s More Than Ready filly Dreamaway in gate 13.
Last Saturday the in-form three-year-old extended her winning streak to four straight with a victory in the Group 3 W.A. Oaks (2400m).
Having run and won at the same track and distance as the WATC Derby, Dreamaway is still likely to have plenty of fans despite her double-figure barrier.
WA Oaks runner-up Why She Left is also set to back up in the Derby on Saturday, Vernon Brockman’s Al Maher filly drawn in barrier 10 and to be ridden by Paul Harvey.
Faring far better in the WATC Derby barrier draw was the Trevor Andrews-trained Veracious with gate two.
The Systematic gelding enjoyed a black-type win in the Listed T.J. Smith Trophy (1600m) here on February 19 before finishing second in the Listed Roberts Stakes (1800m) on March 5 and then third in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) on March 19.
Roberts Stakes winner View The Stars is also in the WATC Derby on Saturday, Paul Jordan’s well-bred Galileo colt having failed last-start when 12th in the Melvista and also suffering a wide barrier 15 draw for Saturday.
Last-start Melvista Stakes winner Rio Dane meanwhile looks one of the biggest dangers to Playing God in the Derby, the Frankie Maynard-trained Danish Harmony colt having drawn the prized barrier one.
Rio Dane is due to be ridden by in-form hoop Shaun Meeres on Saturday who was aboard for the Melvista win and who also recently rode Dreamaway to victory in the Listed Natasha Stakes (2200m) on March 12.
See below for the complete 2011 Schweppes WATC Derby final field, barrier draw and weights.
For all the WATC Derby news, field updates and betting tips leading up to Saturday’s showdown make sure you bookmark us here at Races.com.au.
2011 Schweppes WATC Derby Final Field & Barrier Draw
|1||PLAYING GOD||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||14||56|
|2||VERACIOUS||Trevor Andrews||Patrick Carbery||2||56|
|3||VIEW THE STARS||Paul Jordan||Brad Parnham||15||56|
|4||THE TENBY FRIAR||Jim P Taylor||Jason Brown||6||56|
|5||RIO DANE||Frankie Maynard||Shaun Meeres||1||56|
|6||BIG JOSH||Daniel Morton||Shaun O’Donnell||3||56|
|7||DISCOVERERS||George Daly||Peter Knuckey||5||56|
|8||MR MOET||Adam Durrant||Peter Hall||7||56|
|9||AMBERS KINGDOM||Sharon Miller||Duncan Miller (a)||9||56|
|10||DOODELICIOUS||Paige Kenney||Takahide Ikenushi||12||56|
|11||CHIRON||Lou Luciani||Jason Whiting||4||56|
|12||THE PURPLE PARROT||Stan Bates||Alan Kennedy||16||56|
|13||DREAMAWAY||Grant Williams||William Pike||13||54|
|14||WHY SHE LEFT||Vernon Brockman||Paul Harvey||10||54|
|15||MOONLIGHT BAY||Grant Williams||Kyra Yuill (a)||8||54|
|16||IHTSATUNE||Fred Kersley||Daniel Staeck||11||54|