Green Light on Mr Blue to Join Derby Crew

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

# Horse Trainer
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
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
16 JAHRE Anthony Cummings
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
22 PECK Peter Snowden
23 PLAYACTION David Peoples
24 QUARTERBAR Michael Moroney
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
30 SINGLE Craig Carmody
31 THE CHEVRON (NZ) John Sadler
32 TURNITUP Peter G Moody
34 YULALONA Peter Snowden
35 ZACHARY Peter Snowden