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This weekend an exciting field of three-year-olds faces off in Adelaide’s 2014 South Australian Derby including the Richard Jolly-trained Kushadasi.
One of a confirmed 16 starters, plus three emergencies, in this year’s $500,000 Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) local Choisir gelding Kushadasi is also inside the top half of betting for the Morphettville major.
Current South Australian Derby odds are led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained VRC St Ledger winner at Flemington last Saturday, Order Of The Sun, at $4.
Like Encosta De Lago colt Order Of The Sun, Kushadasi is on the seven day turnaround having raced at home in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m).
There they ran four lengths away fourth to the Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas-trained winner Gamblin’ Guru having jumped from barrier 11 of 14 and suffering interference not long after the barriers went up.
The run before, Kushadasi was also defeated by New Approach gelding Gamblin’ Guru in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas (1800m) when crossing a nostril flare away in second.
They get a chance to turn the tables finally in the South Australian Derby then as they go up over further than 2000m for the first time.
A known wet track performer, Gamblin’ Guru is at $9 to take out the Derby while Kushadasi is hot on their heels paying $10.
They’ve drawn barrier three which is one inside the favourite Order Of The Sun (4) and will be ridden by Steve Arnold who has partnered with them for their past two runs.
It is a nice draw that Jolly hopes makes all the difference in the Group 1, a race the local trainer ran second in last year with his Strada gelding Hioctdane who was runner-up to Mornington raider Escado.
“He’s going to be allowed the relax early but certainly from the good draw hopefully he can relax and he’s certainly going to be a lot closer than he was the other day,” Jolly told AAP.
Gamblin’ Guru meanwhile has the outside barrier, which could actually prove an advantage if it is a wet track with five South Australian Derby winners having jumped from 16 since 1983 and Hioctdane jumped from for their second 12 months ago.
The other well fancied hopes in the SA Derby include Ken Keys’ Cranbourne galloper Bring Something ($4.80) who comes off a Listed Galilee Series Final win at Caulfield from April 12 and the rails-drawn Sebring filly Scratchy Bottom ($7.50), also from Cranbourne, who ran a good third to May’s Dream in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) here last weekend.
“You’ve got to line different form lines up which makes it hard, but I’m happy with him (Kushadasi),” Jolly said.
“I think he’s up to it.”
Along with Kushadasi Jolly is also represented in this year’s South Australian Derby field by $51 roughie Majestic Moment, a Barley A Moment gelding who he believes a better chance than their odds suggest.
Majestic Moment faces a notable class rise here but they’ve earned it after back-to-back wins firstly over the mile at Murray Bridge and then over 2200m when defeating Royal Amati by nearly two lengths at Balaklava on April 16.
“I took him back to winnable races and he’s going really well,” Jolly said.
“He showed he can stay. I definitely think he’s not hopeless in the race.”
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