A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Gai Waterhouse’s 2012 Queensland Derby hopeful Tohunga is already being tipped by the stable as a horse to watch in not this year’s edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’ but in the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
Three-year-old Zabeel gelding out of 2005 AJC Oaks runner-up She’s Justa Tad, Tohunga is nominated for the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm this Stradbroke Handicap Day, Saturday June 9.
But they are being groomed for bigger things next year.
A six length winner at Gosford back in April they were last seen finishing a convincing fifth when beaten four and half lengths by the Leon Corstens-trained Zabeelionaire in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 5.
Ridden by Tommy Berry for the SA Derby effort Tohunga will have their next Queensland Derby lead-up at Canterbury on Wednesday racing in the $27,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Handicap (2800m).
A win at Canterbury’s midweek meeting could see Tohunga firm in from their current price of $21 in the Queensland Derby odds at bookmaker.com.au, markets led by SA Derby winner Zabeelionaire ($3.50).
Waterhouse’s racing manager Bruce Slade said that Tohunga wasn’t in the best position for the SA Derby and did well to finish as close as they did, and if they can get out in front on Wednesday and then in the Queensland Derby they would be hard to run down.
“He copped a bit of a bump in the straight and then got going again late,” Slade said.
“He sat behind the leader and had to wait for a run.
“I think he’s better when he’s out and rolling.”
Slade is also tipping Tohunga to improve as they see more distance starting on Wednesday and continuing all the way through until the 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
In Slade’s eyes the horse already has a Melbourne Cup 2013 date on the first Tuesday of November in two years’ time over the famous two miles at Flemington.
“I think he could be Gai’s 2013 Melbourne Cup horse,” he said.
“He’s got plenty of developing to do but he’s over 16 hands.”
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