Sydney horseman John O’Shea knows he’s got a smart colt going into the big one at Flemington on Saturday with Savvy Nature, but he also knows his chances rely on some luck in Wednesday’s Victoria Derby barrier draw 2013.
O’Shea will saddle-up his Savabeel gelding Savvy Nature in the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) who is current narrow second elect in futures betting on the classic.
Victoria Derby odds are led by Peter Snowden’s Spring Champion Stakes winner Complacent ($4).
Savvy Nature, third in the Spring Champion at Randwick on October 12, meanwhile pays $4.40 to upset the better fancied Authorized colt.
Their Derby price came in notably on the weekend after Savvy Nature backed-up from the Spring Champion to debut in Melbourne and win the Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley by a breezy three lengths.
They have jumped from barrier eight for their two most recent runs, when ridden by Jim Cassidy and James McDonald respectively, and O’Shea knows that barriers will play an important role again this weekend.
“If we are going to beat him (Complacent), the barriers are going to be vital,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria this week.
“The two times we’ve met him we’ve had to give him a big start and we just need to draw a gate where we can get within striking distance in the run so that we’re not setting ourselves too great a task.
“If we draw 14 or 15 and he draws one again, we’re going to be spotting him six or eight lengths.”
Before the Spring Champion Savvy Nature’s other loss to Complacent was in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 28 where, from barrier 12 of 12, they did a stellar job to come within a long neck of the winner .
All the Victoria Derby hopes will be stepping up to the 2500m for the first time and there are a number of factors that will determine who survives and thrives, and who dies, over the distance.
Among them is lead-up form over the 2000m races, breeding and, according to O’Shea, the barrier selections.
“The bigger track will suit, the sweeping bend will suit him but having had the run left handed will also suit him,” O’Shea said speaking of that in favour of his mount.
“He worked over a mile this morning and he’ll do that again on Thursday. We’ll just keep him up to the mark. He had a good hard gallop Saturday, so we’ll just keep him ticking over.”
Final acceptances for the three-year-olds’ showdown close at 10:00am (AEST) on Wednesday with the field released soon after.
The official 2013 Victoria Derby barrier draw will then be conducted live from 12:30pm (AEST) so stay tuned.
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