David Payne’s last start Rosehill Guineas winner Criterion is set to appreciate another rain-affected Sydney track when they head to Randwick Racecourse this weekend for the 2014 Australian Derby.
The in-form son of Sebring is one of a capacity 18 three-year-olds accepted for this year’s $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m) running as Randwick Race 6 at 3:10pm (AEST).
Early favourite pre-Australian Derby barrier draw is Criterion, due to be ridden by Hugh Bowman.
Bowman was aboard the exciting colt on March 29 in their latest run where they easily accounted for their Rosehill Guineas rivals by three and a half lengths over the 2000m.
Second also to Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in Flemington’s Australian Guineas earlier this autumn, Criterion is also no stranger to the longer distance they’ll get on the weekend having run a brave fourth to Polanski in Victoria Derby (2500m) in the spring.
While their lead-up form and ability over the ground is convincing, starting favourite in the Australian Derby is statistically a negative with only two of the past 10 punters’ picks saluting.
It’s definitely a race known for throwing up an upset too with 7 Australian Derby winners since 1983 winning at double figures.
Coming off a run behind Criterion at Rosehill are a number of other Derby acceptors including runner-up Thunder Fantasy for Anthony Cummings and the Bruce Hill-trained Gold Coast galloper Teronado stepping up to the mile and half for the first time here.
Lucky Owners colt Thunder Fantasy was no match for Criterion last start, but did have their measure going one better when third in the Victoria Derby last November.
Cummings is well represented in this year’s Australian Derby field with Thunder Fantasy joined by their stable mates Surge Ahead coming off a Rosehill Guineas seventh and Savabeel gelding Best Case.
Best Case is on a short seven day turnaround here having finished third to Gallatin in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) in a gutsy effort in the mud last weekend.
Tulloch Stakes winner Gallatin is also backing up in the Derby, Peter Snowden’s up-and-coming Street Cry three-year-old in their Group 1 debut.
Singing Flame (2nd) and Mountain View (4th) were the next best over the line in the Tulloch on Golden Slipper Day, both out for an upset in the Derby.
Along with Criterion the other big name Australian Derby player in 2014 is then Peter McKay’s Kiwi raider Puccini.
The Encosta De Lago colt enjoyed a big two length win, their third on the trot, in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at the start of March earning a trip down under to chase our autumn riches.
They debuted in Australia on March 29 in the Rosehill Guineas but finished well back in the pack 12th, 12 lengths off the winner.
Unsuited to a drop back from 2400m to 2000m, Puccini is set to improve on that run dramatically when they go back up to the Derby distance and should benefit from their Sydney run.
Also in the mix are the likes of Snowden’s Victoria Derby fifth placed Tupac Amaru, the Peter Moody-trained Cadillac Mountain and Casino Prince colt Hooked coming off a Rosehill Guineas fifth.
Check out the full ATC Australian Derby 2014 field and jockeys below, the barrier draw to be conducted this afternoon.
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2014 Australian Derby Final Field
Randwick Race 6 – 3:10pm (AEST) – 12/04/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.|
|1||00224×4281||CRITERION (NZ)||David Payne||Hugh Bowman||0||56.5kg||108|
|2||3514141110||PUCCINI (NZ)||Peter & Jacob McKay||Craig Williams||0||56.5kg||105|
|3||11593×1382||THUNDER FANTASY||Anthony Cummings||Damien Oliver||0||56.5kg||101|
|4||312310×374||SAVVY NATURE (NZ)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0||56.5kg||96|
|5||4125×35543||TERONADO||Bruce W Hill||Craig Newitt||0||56.5kg||90|
|6||1x2131x700||KOROIBETE||Gerald Ryan||Damian Browne||0||56.5kg||81|
|7||1151×7637||SURGE AHEAD||Anthony Cummings||Zac Purton||0||56.5kg||78|
|8||3x513x6351||GALLATIN||Peter Snowden||Nash Rawiller||0||56.5kg||93|
|9||x4444x5855||HOOKED||John P Thompson||Blake Shinn||0||56.5kg||85|
|10||124144×153||BEST CASE (NZ)||Anthony Cummings||Christian Reith||0||56.5kg||84|
|11||5x0170x611||CRIME FIGHTER||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||0||56.5kg||73|
|12||x21925x309||TUPAC AMARU||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||0||56.5kg||70|
|13||2868×61012||SINGING FLAME||Kevin Moses||Tim Clark||0||56.5kg||89|
|14||2419×128||CADILLAC MOUNTAIN||Peter G Moody||Chad Schofield||0||56.5kg||75|
|15||66×5100212||SOLO SAGA||Bevan Laming||Jim Cassidy||0||56.5kg||68|
|16||3310×31434||MOUNTAIN VIEW (NZ)||John Sargent||Joao Moreira||0||56.5kg||79|
|17||x14579x961||SURGING WAVE||David Hayes||Michael Rodd||0||56.5kg||66|
|18||870×003305||HERESDECASINO||Neville & Christopher Voigt||–||0||56.5kg||50|