On Saturday Mick Kent will saddle-up two of his three-year-olds in the 2013 Australian Derby with second pick Philippi and outside chance High Shot, the Cranbourne-based trainer fairly sure however he’ll be running for second in the Royal Randwick feature behind It’s A Dundeel.
Murray Baker’s ace Kiwi colt It’s A Dundeel is dominating the markets as the $1.25 favourite for the $1.5 million Group 1 David Jones Australian Derby (2400m), a win in which will see them complete the Sydney Autumn 3YO Triple Crown following their earlier victories in both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas.
While there is a slight query hanging over the favourite’s head stepping up the mile and a half, rival trainer Kent is still sure they are the one to beat.
But he’ll still be having a go.
Kent’s best chance at an upset Australian Derby result on Saturday lies in barrier one with Philippi paying $7 as the only other hopeful under double-figures in the markets.
The Host colt isn’t exactly bred for the distance being out of an Encosta De Lago mare, but they were impressive enough last start to earn a go.
Backing up from a second to Hvasstan, a $17 chance in the Australian Derby odds for this weekend, in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley Philippi was last seen scoring an impressive three length victory over another Derby hope Hippopus in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
That effort was produced on a Slow (7) track and if Randwick is a little firmer this weekend the 2400m shouldn’t prove too much of a stretch for the consistent Philippi as they aim for their fifth win from eight career starts.
“I don’t think [breeder-owner Rick Jamieson] was thinking an Australian Derby when he did the mating but the breeding suggests 10 furlongs [2000m], and he won very well at that trip last week,” Kent said.
“The mile-and-a-half is still a mystery with him but he is a very nice horse and will go a good race.”
Kent’s other hope is then $34 runner High Shot drawn in gate six with Craig Williams to ride.
High Shot was disappointing last start when a distant eighth in the Tulloch Stakes but their pedigree being by High Chaparral, also the sire of three others in the field including the odds-on favourite, from Sir Tristram mare Queen Caelia suggests they will be more competitive getting up in distance.
“High Chaparral has taken over from Zabeel as the sire of stayers in this part of the world,” Kent said speaking of the stallion that produced the winning Australian Derby trifecta back in 2010 with Shoot Out, Descarado and Monaco Consul.
In an attempt to sharpen High Shot up some Kent will also add blinkers to his gears.
“I will put the blinkers on him but he is very coltish and has just been switching on and off in his races,” Kent said.
“He might be a preparation away but this is the trip he is bred for.
“He has been a little backwards, and I have ran him short of his best a couple of times just to try to get him to settle, but has got pulling.
“He is the sort of horse which could put it together at this trip, and we have put the blinkers on him to make a difference.”
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