David Hayes has the Victoria Derby 2013 this Melbourne Cup Carnival tentatively penciled in as the spring grand final for his up-and-coming colt Eagle Island who vies for their second career win from as many starts this weekend.
The Fastnet Rock two-year-old debut at Morphettville on May 4 and enjoyed a narrow victory over the mile in the Listed Oaklands Plate (1600m) showing off their staying potential early.
They will look to retain their undefeated status this Saturday at Caulfield when they race in the first on the card – the $80,000 Super Vobis Two-Years-Old Handicap (1600m).
After their Adelaide win Eagle Island will go up in the weights for their second assignment carrying the 59kg top-weight against a field that includes the likes of last start winners Polanski and Celeritas.
If all goes to plan then Eagle Island will be bought back in the spring and stepped up in distance eyeing off the lucrative $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday November 2, 2013.
“I was going to run him in a 1400 metre maiden until I saw the nominations for Adelaide I thought I’d rather run for black-type with a $300,000 Fastnet Rock colt,” he said.
“He’s a real Derby prospect this horse I’d say.”
Another recent juvenile winner set a Victoria Derby target at the end of the year is the Anthony Cummings-trained Drago.
The Danehill Dancer colt broke their maiden status at career start number four this month winning the Juvenile Stayers over 1800m at Rosehill on May 11 by an impressive four lengths before being sent out for a spell to prepare for a spring return.
The victory followed two good runs at elite level when fourth to Guelph in the Group 1 ATC Sires Produce Stakes (140m) and fourth again to the same horse but this time beaten under a length in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) on Sydney Cup Day – Drago showing all the signs of a promising staying type.
“He’s got the win now on his two-year-old resume and the prize money to have an easier transit into races like the Spring Champion Stakes (in Sydney) and the VRC Derby,” stable foreman Edward Cummings said.
“As a stallion prospect, and a classic stamp on him, I’ll think it will be handy come the end of his three-year-old season.
“He’ll certainly get 10 furlongs [2000m] and I can’t wait to see him over a mile and a half as a three-year-old.”
Stay up-to-date with all the latest spring racing updates over the coming months as the countdown to the big carnival continues right here at Races.com.au.
In the meantime why not check out the juicy futures markets open on some of the approaching season’s elite levels including the famous Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup online at bookmaker.com.au – home of the famous Pick Your Own Odds markets!