Twelve months ago the $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) was taken out by Victorian visitor Zabeelionaire and this weekend one of the co-favourites for the 2013 edition of the classic, Hvasstan, is back looking for successive victories for the Melbourne raiders.
The Peter Gelagotis-trained Fastnet Rock colt is currently sitting top of the SA Derby odds at a quote of $4.20, equal with local hopeful Hioctdane who comes off an impressive win at the track just seven days earlier come Saturday.
Drawn in barrier 11, which has produced two previous winners since 1983, Hvasstan is a Group 2 winner back in Melbourne having beaten home Philippi in the Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) in March and the SA Derby will be their fourth Group 1 race.
Their most recent starts were behind It’s A Dundeel finishing a well beaten seventh and sixth respectively behind the star in the Rosehill Guineas and Australian Derby and they are predicted to return to form here against an easier field of rivals.
“We have a theory that he didn’t handle the Sydney way of going,” Gelagotis said.
So can Hvasstan bounce back and break their Group 1 maiden status? Or will they be chasing home the winner once again?
The form says yes but their trainer still needs some convincing, although Gelagotis is confident getting back to the left-handed way of racing will help out.
“The horse seems to be well in himself, but in between his Alister Clark win and this run coming up, we under-performed by his standards,” he said.
“If he finds his best form I think he’s got a class edge on that field (on Saturday).
“On paper he’s 10 ratings points in front of the next horse and he’s 18 in front of the third highest-rated, so it looks a nice race.
“Everything indicates to me he’s in good order and really we won’t get a better opportunity to win a Group 1, but you’ve got to be mindful he’s a young horse who just campaigned in Sydney and he might just put his hand up and say he needs a rest.
“There’s nothing indicating that in his blood or the way he has worked. He goes there fit and well.”
See below for the pros and cons of backing Hvasstan to return to form this weekend.
#1 Hvasstan – Horse Form
- Barrier: Barrier 11
- Jockey: Glen Boss
- Trainer: Peter Gelagotis
- Owners: Mr E Gelagotis, Mr G D Williams, Mr P A Moss, Mr S J Moss, Mr F D Brown, Mr B N Morrow, Mr R A Ford, Dr P M Stevens, Mr M P Stevens, Mr A F M Panozzo, Mr B W Smart, Mr W I Holdsworth, Mr M Gelagotis, Mr M Gotis
- Age: 3YO
- Gender: Colt
- Breeding: by Fastnet Rock from Snow Hero
- Career: 12-4-2-0
- Win: 33.33%
- Place: 50.00%
- Last 6: x84176
- Prize Money: $468,375
- Track: 0-0-0-0
- Distance: 1-0-0-0 (4th)
- Current 2013 SA Derby Odds: $4.20
Why Hvasstan Can Win the South Australian Derby 2013
- Barrier 11 seems wide but over the distance it is a non-issue and over the past three decades 14 SA Derby winners have jumped from barrier 10 or wider
- Ace hoop Glen Boss jumps aboard for the first time since the spring
- Boss rode them to four times last year producing two wins including the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m), a second in the UCI Stakes and their eye-catching fourth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m)
- Their fourth to Fiveandahalfstar in the Victoria Derby showed their ability to stay and they are one of only a few to have been competitive over the distance
- Last two runs have been tough Group 1 assignments in Sydney and they should improve off them
- Without It’s A Dundeel to race away with the win Hvasstan gets their chance
- Two of the past 10 SA Derby winners came via the ATC Derby which Hvasstan ran sixth in last start
- Will appreciate getting back to their preferred (left) way of racing
- Group 2 winner three back
- Second highest Win Rate of the field (33.33%) trailing only #2 Hioctdane (37.50)
- Favourites have a good record in the race with six wins in the past decade
Why Hvasstan Won’t be the 2013 South Australian Derby Winner
- Yet to race in Adelaide – that advantage goes to co-favourite #2 Hioctdane who is their main danger
- Needs to show some serious improvement on their two big losses in Sydney over the past month
- Has their testing campaign taken too much out of them?
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