They have never won a race, are yet to run over a distance further than 1400-metres and are a $151 roughie in the futures betting but Retort Courteous will get their chance to earn a Queensland Derby 2012 start when they race at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Steve Englebretcht’s Zabeel gelding is engaged to run in the $27,000 James Clifford Construction Maiden Plate (1600m) tomorrow and their breeding suggests improvement as they go up in distance.
Retort Courteous debuted last July with a 10th to Extraceed over 1400m at Rosehill after being blocked for a run throughout.
“It was a terrific run. He had showed us more speed than any other Zabeel I’ve had,” Englebrechts said of Retort Courteous’ debut.
They spent over nine months on the sidelines due to a minor let injury before having their first start as a gelded three-year-old at Wyong back on April 26 to run four lengths away sixth to Elchester over 1350-metres when ridden by Kathy O’Hara.
“He trialled at Randwick last August and I think he put his foot in a hole,” Englebrecht said.
“We gave him plenty of time to recover and he’s getting back to his best.
“He got a little further back (at Wyong) than we thought and couldn’t get a clear crack at them until it was too late.
“It wasn’t Kathy’s fault but he is a horse that has a high cruising speed.”
O’Hara retains the ride for Saturday where instructions will be for Retort Courteous to be ridden more forward after they drew the ‘visitor’s draw’ with barrier 13 of 13.
“He’s getting to his right distance now and I can only see one genuine front runner in the race,” Englebrecht said.
“Hopefully he won’t be giving the gun run to one of his rivals by going forward.
“I would have been much happier drawing in closer.
“I think if he can roll along we’ll see a better horse, it’s often the case with these Zabeel’s, they like to roll.”
It may be a pipe dream by Englebretcht is hoping to see enough from the youngster tomorrow to suggest continuing on the path towards the $500,000 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 9.
“Following Wednesday we’ll head to Rosehill for a 2000 metre race for three-year-olds then, providing he performs accordingly it’s off to Queensland,” Englebrecht said.
Latest Queensland Derby odds at bookmaker.com.au are led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fat Al ($4) who has won their last four straight including the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) on Sydney Cup Day, and Leon Corsten’s SA Derby champion Zabeelionaire ($4.40).
Much further down the markets punters will find $151 rank outsider Retort Courteous.
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