Former Kiwi galloper Castlzeberg can announce himself as genuine contender for next month’s Group 1 2013 South Australian Derby (2500m) with a strong performance on Australian debut at Caulfield on Saturday.
The OTI-owned stayer will contest the Echucamoama.com Handicap (1800m) which will be his first start since running third in the New Zealand Derby on March 2.
The three-year-old was originally being targeted at the Australian Derby but new trainer Danny O’Brien simply ran out of time to prepare him.
Despite the fact it will be the Castledale gelding’s first start on Australian soil, O’Brien is still expecting a strong performance.
“If he’s going to be winning in South Australia he needs to be winning or going close on Saturday,” O’Brien told Racing Victoria.
“He’s has good residual fitness from New Zealand and after his run on Saturday he’ll be ready to go straight up to the 2500m in two weeks.”
Castlzeberg has won two of seven starts and is yet to miss out on a top three finish.
His biggest win came in form of a four-length romp in the Waikato Guineas in February which preceded a second in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas and the Derby third.
The emerging galloper has been in Danny O’Brien’s stable for six weeks.
A strong performance in the $500,000 South Australian Derby would also open the door for a trip north to tackle the Queensland Derby at the Brisbane Winter Carnival in June.
While the South Australian Derby attracts a reasonable field it is considered somewhat softer than the Australian Derby which is the pinnacle of autumn staying races for three-year-olds.
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