Victorian stayer Hvasstan is a confirmed starter for Saturday’s Group 1 $1.5 million 2013 Australian Derby (2400m) where he will get the chance to bounce back from a disappointing seventh on Sydney debut in the Rosehill Guineas last month.
The three-year-old arrived in the harbour city on the back of a strong Group 2 win in the Alister Clark Stakes but never looked like featuring in the finish of the Guineas.
Original thoughts from trainer Peter Gelagotis were that he struggled with the right-handed way of going but that has since been put to bed, with the colt comfortably getting through trackwork in the Sydney direction.
Gelagotis admits he isn’t quite sure what caused his downfall in the Guineas but suggested he may be ridden in a more relaxed manner this weekend.
“We forced him forward. Perhaps we should have let him relax and find his feet,” Gelagotis told AAP.
“Maybe he didn’t handle the occasion.”
Gelagotis said he was pleased to see fellow Victorian Philippi win the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes on Saturday as it confirms his charge’s form warrants Derby contention.
Hvasstan defeated Philippi in the Alister Clark Stakes and also beat him when flying home for fourth in the Australian Guineas on March 2.
There are no questions over the son of Fastnet Rock’s ability to stay the distance, having finished fourth to top young stayers Fiveandahalfstar and Super Cool in the Victoria Derby.
The track at Randwick is currently rated as heavy and while early predictions are it will be in the dead range on Saturday, Gelagotis said a wet surface would suit Hvasstan.
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