This Wednesday Caulfield Racecourse will come to life for Thousand Guineas Day, and while the focus of the meeting will be on the smart fillies in the $1 million Thousand Guineas, the opening race will also a must-see with 2011 Victoria Derby favourite Collar lining up.
Robert Hickmott’s three-year-old O’Reilly gelding Collar sits at the top of the Luxbet odds for the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m), which runs on the opening day of Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival on Saturday October 29.
Paying $7 in the Victoria Derby markets, Collar has to date started three times for two victories and a fourth place finish behind Peter Moody’s since-spelled galloper Moment Of Change in a 1300m handicap at Sandown Lakeside.
Last start Collar claimed a tidy one and a quarter length victory after overcoming the far outside barrier 11 of 11 in the Listed Doncaster Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on a Slow (6) track on Sunday October 2, Turnbull Stakes Day.
2011 Victoria Derby Odds
Thousand Guineas Day will see Collar step back down in class again for a 0 – 82 rating handicap, the gun young stayer-in-the-making to jump from barrier eight of nine in the $70,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Ladies’ Day Plate (1600m).
Running as the opening race on Wednesday at Caulfield at 12:35pm (EDT), Collar has been allocated the hefty 59kg topweight for their next assignment, which is the heaviest they have carried to date.
They managed to win on debut at Swan Hill back in June carrying 57kg, but had just 55kg on their back for their Doncaster Stakes success last start.
Even with their big weight, Collar is sure to jump favourite in the Caulfield Race 1 odds on Wednesday at Luxbet.
Notable rivals they will face include the David Hayes-trained Whisper Downs, First Course who has the inside alley and Danny O’Brien’s Meethaq.
Hickmott also has Collar’s stablemate Salter engaged for the race in barrier six with Steven King in the saddle.
Following Collar in the Victoria Derby betting markets at Luxbet are last Saturday’s dominant Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet and Golden Rose hero Manawanui both paying $8.
Other three-year-olds high up the 2011 Victoria Derby futures odds include Rick Hore-Lacy’s Bill Stutt Stakes winner Chase The Rainbow ($11), Mick Price’s promising Encosta De Lago colt Costly Commitment ($11), the Leon Corstens-trained Zabeelionaire ($13) and Perfect Punch ($13).
Starcraft colt Perfect Punch is prepared in Adelaide by Morphettville based training team Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas.
Having won their last three races on the trot, including the Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville over the weekend, Perfect Punch is looking to emulate their since-retired stablemate Rebel Raider who took out the 2008 Victoria Derby as a $101 roughie in a massive boilover.
Rebel Raider ran fifth in the Hill Smith Stakes three years ago before contesting the Geelong Classic, which they placed third in, leading up to their Victoria Derby triumph.
Perfect Punch too is due to have their final lead-up to the Flemington classic in this year’s $100,000 Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on Wednesday week.
“Rebel Raider ran in the Geelong race after starting his preparation in Adelaide and it fits in better with the programme,” Macdonald said.
“It means 10 days since his last run and then 10 days into the Derby which I think is preferable to two weeks and a week.
“It’s a proven formula for us.
“Perfect Punch has only had five runs and is still as green as grass and does a lot of things wrong.
“But there don’t seem to be many staying three-year-olds around.
“The sprinters are top-class but the staying ranks are thin.
“He is by an AJC Derby winner in Starcraft, his mother Tayasu Run won the Belmont Oaks in Perth and her sire Tayasu Tsuyoshi was a Japan Derby winner so I have no worries about the 2500 metres.”
The AAMI Victoria Derby first declarations will narrow down the list of hopefuls when taken by Racing Victoria on Tuesday October 18, making now the time to lock in your early picks before prices firm.
So head to Australia’s favourite online bookmaker, the Tabcorp-owned and trusted Luxbet, and open your new account, depositing and quoting the promo code BONUSBET for a bonus bet valued up to $500 this spring carnival.