Lethal Jones Ready to Strike in 2012 SA Derby

This Saturday two Perth raiders will take on a field of local and other interstate hopefuls in the South Australian Derby 2012 at Morphettville, one of which is the Lou & Dion Luciani-trained Lethal Jones.

The $500,000 South Australian Derby (2500m) originally featured 16 starters and four emergencies but the early scratching of the Robert Hickmott-trained Practiced has opened the way for Gai Waterhouse’s in-form Zabeel gelding Tohunga to get a run.

SA Derby odds at our preferred online bookie have last-start Caulfield winner Zabeelionaire ($4.40) and Anthony Cummings’ Group 1 tested Strike The Stars ($4.80) fighting for favouritism.

One of the longer priced chances not without their claims however is Lethal Jones ($21).

The other Perth visitor in the SA Derby field this year is then the Neville Parnham-trained Reign Of Terror, an $81 roughie in the markets.

Drawn in barrier two with Jason Whiting to ride, Valixir gelding Lethal Jones was last seen running a brave fifth to Rohan in the Group 2 WATC Derby (2400m) at Ascot on April 14.

A true backrunner, the sit and sprint speed of the WATC Derby did not play into Lethal Jones’ hand and his trainers are convinced they should have finished closer.

“He race was probably a non-event as far as he was concerned, he may as well have walked three laps around his box – that was how hard he worked, it was farcical,” the astute Lou Luciani said yesterday.

“Our horse has pulled up well, so we’ve given him the chance to come across for this (the SA Derby).

“I think we’ve bumped into a pretty even race.

“I’d imagine there will be some good winners in the race – so you’d have to say it’s stronger than an average Derby.”

Prior to the WATC Derby Lethal Jones beat home Reign Of Terror in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m), Saturday to be their first run outside of WA.

“He is a relaxed horse so he is an ideal candidate for this type of trip,” Dion Luciani, who co-trains with his father Lou, said.

“He arrived in the early hours of this morning and dad said he drank half a bucket of water soon as he got off the float.

“Although he only had a couple of weeks in the paddock between campaigns, he came back much bigger and stronger.

“He is sound and well and we won’t die wondering.”

Lou Luciani confirmed that the horse had arrived in good order and that he was ready to peak on Saturday.

“The horse has travelled over well, he’s settled in well, I think the horse is a good stayer in the making and this will toughen him up a bit more for future racing,” he said.

“If he gets the chance to show his best, he’ll be certainly be more than competitive.”

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