They’re the right type for a shot at the 2014 Queensland Derby in Brisbane this winter however co-trainer Leon Macdonald has warned that this Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) could be the season swansong for Gamblin’ Guru.
Last Saturday the New Approach three-year-old scored their second Adelaide win on the trot with a narrow victory in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m).
It came one run after they held on in a similarly tight effort in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) a fortnight before.
The Chairman’s win also put them in the frame for a shot at the 2014 South Australian Derby at Morphettville this weekend.
Winner of the Geelong Classic over 2200m on a Heavy (9) track at Geelong during the spring, both the distance and the likely muddy conditions of the Derby then look to suit Gamblin’ Guru who will be ridden by their regular hoop Jason Holder on the weekend.
The form of the Geelong Classic has held strong too as Gamblin’ Guru defeated Tupac Amaru there who was a subsequent second in the Australian Derby this autumn.
Holder and his horse have drawn the far outside barrier for Saturday, 19 into 16, but it’s a gate that has the equal most South Australian Derby winners (5) in the past 30 years so could prove an advantage.
They will need to work on settling down to get the 2500m however, reports from Holder to connections being that the horse wanted to over-race early in the Chairman’s.
“I was told he was aggressive out of the gates and managed to pull the bit through his mouth,” Macdonald told AAP.
“He over-raced and pulled hard and had a bruised tongue afterwards so hopefully he can settle a bit better in the Derby.”
If successful Gamblin’ Guru will also be the first Chairman’s Stakes – South Australian Derby double winner since Rebel Raider back in 2009.
They will also most definitely have atoned for missing out on a shot at the Sydney riches this season, their campaign almost derailed back in March when they fell in the Listed CS Hayes Memorial Cup (1600m).
The horse made a quick comeback considering racing again only 19 days later for their second in a Benchmark 90 over the Morphettville mile, but jockey Clare Lindop suffered a broken collar bone and 15 ribs.
Trainers Macondald and his son-in-law Andrew Gluyas, who celebrated a Sydney Group 1 last weekend with Go Indy Go scoring an upset in the Champagne Stakes, have hinted at Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival ambitions for the up-and-comer.
If they were to continue onto the Queensland riches over the next few weeks, the obvious goal in the sunshine state for Gamblin’ Guru would be the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
Nominations for the Stradbroke Handicap Day feature on June 7 are due out this week, and while Gamblin’ Guru will be nominated, Macdonald believes they could be coming to the end of their prep before that.
“He will be entered for the Queensland Derby but my gut feeling is he may have had enough after Saturday,” the trainer said.
“He has had to overcome the interruptions to his preparation and that might be asking too much of him.”
With the 2014 South Australian Derby final field and barriers now out, the next step is to check the odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Not only will you get Best Tote or SP on the South Australian Derby this weekend at Ladbrokes.com.au, but you will also get a 20% bonus on your winnings up to $100 thanks to their exclusive Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival offer for Saturday!