New Zealand trainer Roger James holds little confidence for his AJC Australian Derby contender He’s Remarkable if the weather in Sydney doesn’t clear in time for Saturday’ showdown at the Royal Randwick.
The $1.5 million Group 1 AJC Derby (2400m) is the headline race on a bumper nine-event programme at Randwick this Saturday, but with track conditions steadily deteriorating due to continued rain the event could be run on Slow to Heavy ground.
On Monday night Randwick was doused with a good half-inch of rain.
There is a 90% chance of rain today and the forecast is for more showers continuing right through until Saturday meaning there’s little chance for a track upgrade.
One of the 14 horses engaged in this year’s AJC Derby field that needs much firmer ground to hold their own is Pentire colt He’s Remarkable.
AJC Derby betting is dominated by fellow Kiwi galloper Jimmy Choux, the last-start Rosehill Guineas winner seeking their sixth consecutive Group race victory on Saturday.
He’s Remarkable has come up against Jimmy Choux five times, defeated every time.
Looking at the form, punters could be scratching their heads as to why James doesn’t rate He’s Remarkable this time round even if the track is rain affected.
In November last year He’s Remarkable finished second to Jimmy Choux, beaten less than half a length on Heavy ground in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
The colt also ran a game third to Jimmy Choux on Slow ground in January of this year in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) in New Zealand.
However, more recent runs begin to show why James has concerns.
In the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on March 5, He’s Remarkable failed due to the track conditions and was beaten 17 ½ lengths by Jimmy Choux.
Then in their Australian debut at Rosehill on March 26, He’s Remarkable could only finish four lengths away sixth in the Rosehill Guineas.
“There’s two things he’s been desperately needing,” James said of He’s Remarkable.
“One is a good draw and the other is a good track.”
After Tuesday’s barrier draw it seems as though the colt will receive neither, having drawn barrier 13 of 14 for the AJC Derby.
“I hold less concern (with the barrier) than the track, I’d dearly love to see a good track,” James said.
“I believe he just doesn’t have the confidence to really hit out well on them (wet tracks).”
Despite concerns over the weather, James has got He’s Remarkable as fit as he can be ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“The mile and a half will suite down to the ground. His work yesterday morning was the best I’d seen him work…it was super work.”
He’s Remarkable is a $21 chance in the AJC Derby betting while Jimmy Choux’s price was trimmed from $2.25 into $2.10 after the favourite came up with barrier one for Saturday.
Jimmy Choux is definitely the benchmark three-year-old of the season and the weather will not affect his chances of Derby success.
“One thing that doesn’t matter with this horse is the state of the track, wet or dry is fine – he’s just a super racehorse,” Jimmy Choux’s trainer John Bary said.
The 2011 David Jones AJC Australian Derby will run as Randwick Race 7 at 3:40pm (AEST) on Saturday and is the 150th anniversary of the event.