After much deliberation connections of crack colt Zabeelionaire have decided the SA Derby winner will continue on and run in the Queensland Derby 2012 at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 9.
The Leon Corstens-trained Zabeel three-year-old bought their career wins to three last time out on May 5 when beating home Sabrage to win the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville.
They have sat towards the top of the pre-field betting markets at bookmaker.com.au for the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) ever since despite at one time looking like a non-acceptor.
The week after their SA Derby success Zabeelionaire’s managing part-owner Brad Spicer announced via Twitter that the horse would not continue onto the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
He later retracted the comments and said the Queensland Derby was still being considered after the Gai Waterhouse-trained early favourite Fat Al was withdrawn and sent to the paddock early with an eye on the spring.
Moving to the top of the Queensland Derby odds Zabeelionaire has since been confirmed as a Derby runner with Corstens taking the advice of jockey Damien Oliver.
Oliver partnered with the promising stayer for the first time to win the SA Derby and convinced the trainer that they were worth pressing onto the Queensland edition with, despite it cutting into their prep time for the spring.
“Damien said the Queensland Derby would be very winnable so I thought he knows what he’s talking about so I’d better take his advice,” Corstens said.
“It’ll throw a spanner into the works as far as the spring goes but we’ll just have to see how we’re going with him at the time.
“I’ve always said whatever he does this time around he’ll improve on immensely.”
In the latest Queensland Derby betting markets Zabeelionaire pays $3.50.
They are followed by Peter Moody’s last start Flemington winner Soros ($5.50), NZ Oaks champion Miss Artistic ($6.50) and another from Moody’s stables in Vatuvei ($9) on single figures.
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