Last year’s Stradbroke Handicap winner Impending...
On Saturday the richest race for three-year-olds during the Melbourne Spring Carnival is set to take place at Flemington, the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m), and while Manawanui is the spruik horse heading into the classic, a lesser-known galloper out for an upset at juicy odds is South Australian visitor Perfect Punch.
Prepared by Morphettville-based training duo Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas, Starcraft colt Perfect Punch is one of 24 horses vying for a spot in the 2011 Victoria Derby final field, which will be released on Wednesday morning.
Macdonald experienced the thrill of his training career a fortnight ago when their smart mare Southern Speed claimed an upset win in the Caulfield Cup, and he is hoping the good luck continues at Flemington this Saturday.
Southern Speed returns for what is likely to be her final spring run in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Saturday, with another top mare from the stables Majestic Music also engaged for the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) on Derby Day where she will face the likes of five-time elite level hero More Joyous and super filly Mosheen.
The horseman is also especially keen to see Perfect Punch take their spot in the Victoria Derby, Macdonald out for his second win in the classic following Rebel Raider’s 2008 success over Whobegotyou.
In the latest Victoria Derby 2011 markets at Luxbet, which are dominated by Ron Leemon’s star galloper Manawanui at $2.25, Perfect Punch is paying $14 for an upset.
Aside from the top elect they trail only Peter Snowden’s Geelong Classic winner Induna ($5), the Gai Waterhouse-trained Niagara ($7) and Trent Bususttin’s New Zealand-based Savabeel gelding Sangster ($11).
Perfect Punch has raced six times to date and is yet to finish outside of the money, winning three of their starts successively and placing third in their other trio of career starts.
After recently taking out the Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville on October 8 over the Mark Kavanagh-trained filly Quench The Thirst, Perfect Punch was last seen finishing four lengths away third to Induna in the Geelong Classic.
While they need to improve on that run to be competitive in the Derby, Macdonald is confident that the step up in distance will suit making them a genuine chance at generous odds to emulate Rebel Raider who ran third in the Geelong Classic before their VRC Derby victory.
“Perfect Punch is still learning and he’s only got to settle to be in the finish,” Macdonald said.
“But in saying that Manwanui impressed me on Saturday (winning the Vase at Moonee Valley) and his only flaw might be that he doesn’t get 2500 metres.”
Bookmark us here at Races.com.au to be the first to view the 2011 Victoria Derby field and barriers once released on Wednesday morning.
Now is the time, however, to lock in your Victoria Derby selections at nice futures prices before markets firm with the field announcement.
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