Leon Corstens’ progressive stayer Zabeelionaire has opened the narrow favourite to take out the 2012 South Australian Derby at Morphettville on Saturday.
A bred stayer the Zabeel colt has been tested at elite level once before when they finished less than two lengths away second to Sangster in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last October.
Seeing Adelaide for the first time on Saturday Zabeelionaire will get a second chance to become a Derby winner in their three-year-old season when they take on a capacity field of rivals in the $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m).
Drawn on the rails in the full 16 starter plus four emergency field Zabeelionaire will be ridden by Damien Oliver for the first time.
Coming off an eye-catching two and a half length win over 2000m at Caulfield when ridden by Jake Noonan on April 21, Zabeelionaire is tipped to continue their good form as they go up in distance.
Corstens credits the horse’s Caulfield win to the instructions he gave Noonan to ride Zabeelionaire cold, the trainer blaming the horse’s lower strike rate on the way other hoops had been riding them forward.
“The jockeys were the problem – they should have been riding him from behind where he goes best and were putting him forward,” Corstens said.
“I think he looks better than he did last spring.
“He is going terrific and all he needs is a bit of luck.
“He has taken a little while to come to hand, but he is an out and out stayer.”
In the latest SA Derby odds at bookmaker.com.au they are the punters’ pick at $4.40.
Strike The Stars however is fast closing in, Anthony Cummings’ multiple Group 1 performer the market mover now into $4.80 to beat Zabeelionaire and the others home on Saturday.
The son of Savabeel comes off a close fourth to Ethiopia in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 14, Ethiopia owned by the same connections as Saturday’s SA Derby favourite Zabeelionarie.
There are just three other hopefuls under double figures in the SA Derby betting markets with:
- #17 Tohunga ($7.50) – Has one of the widest gates (18) but the class and time to overcome, this Robert Hickmott-trained Encosta De Lago gelding ran an eye-catching second to the now Caulfield Melbourne Cup qualified Vatuvei in the VRC St Leger over 2800m at Flemington on Anzac Day and should be nice and fresh dropping back in distance on Saturday. Fresh And Fit For A 2400 Metre Hit.
- #5 Pelicano ($8) – Tony McEvoy-trained gelding is the best of the local hopes, comes off some imposing form for this too with three stragith wins including the Onkaparinga Cup by three and a half and a 2400m at Morphettville Parks on April 21 by two and a half, genuine upset chance. Watch Out Raiders This Local Hope’s No Fader.
Other notable SA Derby chances at better odds include Queensland Derby-bound Cornell ($11) who won the Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) two back, and the Michael Kent-trained Backbone ($16) who ran a distant fourth beaten 17 lengths in the VRC St Leger last time out.
Check out the full South Australian Derby betting odds and options now open at the country’s best bookie – bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 South Australian Derby Odds
Morphettville Race 7 – 4:05pm – 05/05/2012
|1||STRIKE THE STARS (3)||4.80|
|8||HEAVEN’S RICHES (10)||26.00|
|9||LETHAL JONES (2)||21.00|
|11||REIGN OF TERROR (12)||81.00|
|18e||SOUTHERN INVASION (17)||301.00|
|19e||ROCK MUSICIAN (6)||61.00|
*Fixed Win odds provided by bookmaker.com.au and subject to change