The now Sydney-based Bjorn Baker is hoping his O’Reilly three-year-old Celtic Prince can sneak into the Queensland Derby 2013 field this Saturday believing them a genuine chance in the Stradbroke Handicap Day classic.
One of 33 three-year-olds still officially entered for this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm Racecourse, Celtic Prince currently sits 19th in the order of entry just outside the capacity number of starters.
Baker however is hoping for a non-acceptor higher up the ballot that will see his horse earn a start in the final three-year-olds’ Group 1 of the season.
In the latest pre-field Queensland Derby odds Celtic Prince, a full brother to Group 1 performer Said Com, is a $31 outsider in markets led by Kiwi visitor Survived ($3.40).
The gelding has had nine career starts so far but their sole win was an eight length romp at Newcastle over 2300m in late January.
This time in they’ve had three runs in Sydney, the most recent of which was a third behind Queenstown in a Benchmark 74 over 2000m run on a Heavy (8) at Randwick on May 25.
Should they get a run in the Derby, Baker is confident of improvement when they get back up in distance to the mile and a half spruiking them as a genuine stayer on the up and up.
“Celtic Prince handles all tracks and is a dead-set stayer,” Baker said.
“In fact I wish the race was 4000 metres. He would handle that easily.”
If Celtic Prince does get in it will mean Baker, who previously prepared horses in his native New Zealand with father Murray Baker, pushes one of his dad’s Derby horses further out of contention with Ambitious Champion sitting 24th on the order of entry.
Despite being in danger of missing out on a run Zed gelding Ambitious Champion is well liked in the Queensland Derby odds at a quote of $10.
They came down under on the back of some excellent form back home including two April wins and was seventh to Hawkspur, the $4.40 Derby second pick, in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on May 25 with improvement expected.
Murray Baker however is still expected to be represented in the Queensland Derby final field by Usainity, sixth on the order of entry, the fellow Zed three-year-old paying $15 and coming off a fourth in the Grand Prix.
Now is the ideal time to get behind your selections for the Queensland Derby online at bookmaker.com.au before markets firm with the release of the final field on Wednesday.
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