Tomorrow Royal Randwick will be home to the $1.5 million Group 1 AJC Australian Derby (2400m) and New Zealand wonder colt Jimmy Choux remains the favourite to take out the 150th edition of the iconic three-year-olds’ feature.
Coming off five consecutive Group race victories both at home in New Zealand and in Australia, John Bary’s impressive son of Thorn Park has the form, consistency and ability to post a sixth straight win in the AJC Derby.
Last start Jimmy Choux produced a gallant run in his Australian debut beating home a top field in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 26 and since then has remained the dominant favourite in the AJC Derby odds.
The boom galloper is already a Derby winner having secured a striking two length victory in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on a bog track on March 5.
Tomorrow Jimmy Choux will attempt to become a dual Derby winner and add another $900,000 in prize money to his accumulative $2,221,550 in career earnings to date.
Drawn on the rails in barrier one and due to be ridden by regular jockey Jonathan Riddell in the Derby tomorrow, Jimmy Choux is the steady $2.25 favourite in the markets.
Although the inside draw may look good on paper, some of the experts are suggesting Jimmy Choux’s barrier one start could indeed become an issue on a rain-affected track.
“His inside draw may end up being a detriment rather than an advantage,” Luxbet bookmaker Paul Vincent told Races.com.au.
With rumours circulating that New Zealand horses never run as well second time in on Aussie turf, Jimmy Choux’s trainer John Bary has dismissed the ‘Kiwi jinx’ as a myth.
“I don’t buy into it,” Bary said.
“He’s just that much better again this week and John (Riddell) said he feels better too.”
The last New Zealand-trained galloper to win the New Zealand and AJC Australian Derbies in the same season was the mighty Bonecrusher in 1985 – 86.
“It has been 25 years since Bonecrusher won, so it’s a long time between drinks,” Bary said.
The sole filly in the AJC Derby field this year, Shamrocker is the firming $6.50 second favourite to return to her Australian Guineas winning form tomorrow.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Shamrocker looks to have the perfect starting position with barrier eight, the gate last year’s winner Shoot Out started from, and will be ridden by Glen Boss.
She also should have no issue with the Derby distance having run a game second to Brazilian Pulse in last year’s Crown Oaks over 2500m.
Drifting third elect in the Derby markets is the Peter Snowden-trained Retrieve.
Retrieve looked the Rosehill Guineas winner until the final few hundred metres when he was run down and defeated by Jimmy Choux.
Last start he finished three lengths away third to Fast Clip in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) which was far from the ideal preparatory run heading into the Derby.
Still, Retrieve has his admirers including Luxbet’s Paul Vincent.
“I’m forgiving Retrieve for his failure last week,” Vincent said.
“Providing they ride him aggressively he can salute as the distance holds no fears.”
Other notable AJC Derby rivals include I Think I Do ($15), King Gladiator ($13) and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Light Brigade ($14).
The Bart Cummings-trained Redoute’s Choice colt I Think I Do ran an eye-catching second in the Tulloch Stakes last start, but has a wide barrier 11 draw to contend from tomorrow.
Chris Waller’s Galileo gelding King Gladiator comes into the Derby on the back of a fifth place finish in the Tulloch Stakes.
“He is a nice horse that has gone through the right preparation for the Derby and got there,” said Waller.
“It (the AJC Derby) might be a bit quick form him but you don’t get an opportunity to run in derbies every day, especially with horses that will be suited by the trip.”
The 2011 David Jones 150th AJC Australian Derby will run as Race 7 at Randwick tomorrow, jumping at 3:40pm (AEST).
Randwick Race 7 Selections – 2011 AJC Australian Derby Tips
- #1 Jimmy Choux
- #9 I Think I Do
- #12 King Gladiator
- #14 Shamrocker