Ace Eagle Farm trainer Barry Baldwin has paid the late entry fee and given the green light for his progressive gelding Mr Light Blue to contest Saturday week’s Queensland Derby.
The premier three-year-olds race during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) is set to run at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day and first acceptances for the race were taken on Wednesday.
Thirty-five hopefuls remain in contention including last minute entry, Fantastic Light gelding Mr Light Blue.
Mr Light Blue boasts a very consistent record of finishing in the money, having won three and placed in seven more of their 13 starts to date.
After back-to-back wins at Ipswich in May, last Saturday they turned up at Doomben and showed true grit when finishing a mere half-head away second to Turnitup in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).
That run, from a wide barrier 13 start, was enough to convince Baldwin Mr Light Blue deserved their shot at Group 1 glory in the Derby.
“I didn’t nominate him for the Derby,” Baldwin said.
“He was beaten eight lengths on the Sunshine Coast (on April 17) on the cushion track over 1400m a few days before nominations shut.
“The owners have decided to pay the late nomination fee today which is about $17,000.
“He won $30,000 last Saturday and you spend a lot of money trying to buy Derby horses.”
Dominant Derby favourite this season is Graeme Rogerson’s Doomben Cup fourth placegetter Shootoff who is sitting at the top of the odds paying $6 over $6.50 second elect Scarlett Lady ($6.50).
Also prepared by Rogerson, Kiwi filly Scarlett Lady is an unlikely Derby acceptor the last-start The Roses winner favourite for this Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
A $41 roughie in the Queensland Derby markets, Mr Light Blue may not be a top fancy with the bookies but his trainer holds high hopes he will be competitive come race day.
“He’s a genuine contender and we decided to pay the money,” Baldwin said.
Apprentice jockey Tim Bell, aboard Mr Light Blue in the Grand Prix Stakes, believes the horse will improve over the extra 200m of the Derby.
“He wanted another lap,” Bell said after the Grand Prix.
2011 Channel Seven Queensland Derby First Acceptances
|1||A SHADE BETTER||Gary Portelli|
|2||ALMA’S FURY||Paul Murray|
|3||ANDRE’S CHOICE||Steven O’dea|
|4||CASH ’N’ STYLE||Steven O’dea|
|5||CHARING CROSS||Gai Waterhouse|
|6||CONAHAN (NZ)||Clarry Conners|
|7||ECHOES OF HEAVEN||Mick Price|
|8||ENDOR (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson|
|9||EQUISSENTIAL||Neville O Saunders|
|10||FIVES’A DIAMOND (NZ)||Allan Sharrock|
|11||FROM LONDON||John P Thompson|
|12||GOOD VIEW||Bart Cummings|
|13||HEIDILICIOUS (NZ)||John Sadler|
|14||HOUR OF PERIL||John P Thompson|
|15||IN A TANGLE||Bryan Guy|
|17||KING USAIN (NZ)||Chris Hyland|
|18||LEADING (NZ)||John O’Shea|
|19||MAN FROM OZ||Kelso Wood|
|20||MR LIGHT BLUE||Barry Baldwin|
|21||OFORAWESOME (NZ)||Michael Kent|
|25||SATCH||Bruce W Hill|
|26||SCARLETT LADY (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson|
|27||SHADOWS IN THE SUN||Anthony Cummings|
|28||SHOOT HIGHER (NZ)||John Wallace|
|29||SHOOTOFF (NZ)||Graeme Rogerson|
|31||THE CHEVRON (NZ)||John Sadler|
|32||TURNITUP||Peter G Moody|