Shootoff Could be in for Derby Duel

Duelled gelding Shootoff showed a lovely return to form last Saturday winning in the mud at Randwick with connections now considering a Group 1 assignment up in Queensland for the three-year-old.

The Graeme Rogerson-trained Shootoff went into Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) having won just one of their previous 13 starts.

In an impressive run, Shootoff ($21) and jockey Michael Rodd were able to overcome the Heavy track conditions on Sydney Cup Day and easily defeat Happy Trails by three and a half lengths.

The Gai Waterhouse-trained stablemates and punters’ favourites Fast Clip ($2.90) and Needs Further ($4.20) failed to let down in the wet and finished a well-beaten fifth and eighth respectively.

After the victory, Shootoff’s connections named the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) as a possible winter aim.

“We might look at a race like the Queensland Derby with him during the winter,” Rogerson’s stable foreman Roger Elliot said.

“He’s a young horse on the way up, but we will see how he pulls up after today’s race (the Frank Packer) before making any decision on Brisbane.”

Earlier this preparation Rogerson chose not accept Shootoff for the AJC Derby on April 9 despite the galloper having shown promise when third in the Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day.

“We just felt he wasn’t quite mature enough for the (AJC) Derby,” Elliot said.

“How would he have gone in the Derby? We’ll never know.”

Now another Derby in on the cards with the Queensland edition due to run at Eagle Farm on June 11.