Tomorrow will see the 150th running of the esteemed $1.5 million Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick and while crack Kiwi colt Jimmy Choux remains the steady favourite, another New Zealand galloper is preparing for an upset.
The Roger James-trained Pentire three-year-old He’s Remarkable has been a big market mover in AJC Derby betting with punters tipping the Cambridge-based colt to bounce back from his last-start sixth to Jimmy Choux in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 26.
Sportingbet Australia has slashed their price on He’s Remarkable from $21 to $15 following a number of big bets placed on the outsider.
“We took a bet of $2,000 each way at $21 and then a bet of $4,000 each way at $19 and a series of smaller bets as he shortened up to $15,) Sportingbet Australia CEO Michael Sullivan said.
“He did drift a little after drawing barrier 13 and talk the rain around Sydney wouldn’t help him but punters are having none of it and have stepped in.”
He’s Remarkable, purchased by James for $360,000 at the 2009 Karaka yearling sale, has raced nine times to date, including twice having finished in the minor placings behind the John Bary-trained Jimmy Choux back home in New Zealand.
The colt was less than half a length away second in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000m Guineas (1600m) in November last year and also came third to Jimmy Choux in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) in Janurary.
More recently, however, He’s Remarkable ran a distant ninth beaten 17 ½ lengths by the AJC Derby favourite in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) where he struck early interference and failed to let down in the bog track conditions.
“Our bloke (He’s Remarkable) finished ninth to him (Jimmy Choux) in the Derby back home but that was on a very heavy track,” James said.
“I believe he is better on top of the ground and he wasn’t that far away in the Rosehill Guineas.”
James purchased He’s Remarkable for the sole purpose of having a Derby horse.
“That was my brief when I bought the horse, they wanted a horse good enough to run in Derbies,” James said.
“He has run in one Derby already but we struck an absolute bog that day and hopefully we can strike a better track on Saturday.”
After being entered for the 2011 AJC Australian Derby, He’s Remarkable suffered an early blow drawing wide with barrier 13 of the 14-horse field while Jimmy Choux came up trumps with gate one.
“Obviously we don’t want it too wet and we’re hoping the skies clear a little,” James said.
“We realise we are up against a very good horse and we’ve seen plenty of him (Jimmy Choux) back home, but we’re hoping for a decent (good) track and I’m sure he will be very competitive.”
However, to be at his best He’s Remarkable needs a firmer ground than the likely conditions at Rosehill tomorrow.
There has been an upgrade to the track conditions at the course proper at Randwick from yesterday’s Slow (6) to a Dead (5) as of 8:30am (AEST) on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, track conditions will have little effect on Bary’s confidence with Jimmy Choux.
“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,” Bary said of Jimmy Choux.
Still, James is remaining positive that He’s Remarkable can stage an AJC Australian Derby upset.
“His preparation has been perfect, his work (on Tuesday morning) was very good and I couldn’t fault him,” James said.