Honorius Racing for Second – Victoria Derby 2012

Sydney horseman David Payne likes the form of his young colt Honorius heading into Saturday’s 2012 Victoria Derby at Flemington but concedes they are likely running for second with It’s A Dundeel still the horse to beat in the three-year-olds’ classic in his mind.

There are currently 23 horses still in contention for the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) this year, Geelong Classic winner Solemn ruled out this morning, with the final field of 16 starters to be released on Wednesday.

Short-priced favourite in the Victoria Derby odds at the online bookies is the Murray Baker-trained Kiwi galloper It’s A Dundeel who is still paying around $2.40 to win despite having gone down in a shock loss, the first of their impressive six-start career to date, when second to Super Cool in the Moonee Valley Vase last weekend.

While the loss of the Spring Champion Stakes winner has got a number of their rivals grinning ahead of the Victoria Derby 2012, Payne believes It’s A Dundeel has the ability to bounce back and over the 2500m will still be hard to beat.

“I don’t think It’s A Dundeel lost much from a Derby point of view,” Payne said.

“I don’t think the Moonee Valley track suited him.

“I’m sure he will be much better on the bigger track at Flemington but I also think it will suit my horse as well.”

Payne’s runner Honorius is also one of the top Victoria Derby betting favourites currently paying about $7.50 to score an upset on Saturday with MV Vase winner Super Cool ($6.50) and Hvasstan ($7) sitting above them in the markets.

Holy Roman Emperor colt Honorius hasn’t finished out of the money this time in running top three in all four of their black type assignments.

They have twice been defeated by It’s A Dundeel when second to them second-up in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and then third in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in Sydney.

Last start Honorius ran another good second, elevated from third upon a successful protest, behind fellow Derby hopeful Hvasstan in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m), which was their first ever run in Melbourne.

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