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A Caulfield win over the weekend has secured a Queensland Derby 2014 bid for Henry Dwyer’s up-and-coming Victorian three-year-old Sonntag.
The Teofilo gelding took their record to two wins and two minor placings from seven starts in Melbourne when they posted a solid and a half length victory over fellow local hope Khutulun in the $80,000 ALH Group Handicap (2000m) on Saturday in a race where the Danny O’Brien-trained favourite Tear Gas finished dead last.
It was a good return to the winners’ stall for the galloper, a Darley castoff formerly prepared by Peter Snowden for their opening three starts last year.
New connections and a new young trainer have seen Sonntag, a $58,000 purahcase a tried horse sale last August, go from strength to strength this autumn – winter season with both of their victories coming under Dwyer’s guidance.
The first win was at Sale two back on April 17 which was followed by a very close second when just nudged out of a mile win at Bendigo on May 2.
Saturday was their first big city success, their first look at the 2000m and was not only the horse’s biggest win to date but also their 30-year-old trainer’s.
The ease of which they won showed Dwyer they were worth of a trip to the Sunshine State then to target the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
“That was the idea before today if he ran well, and I don’t think we can change that now,” Dwyer told the Courier-Mail.
“So we’ll head to the Derby.”
The step up to 2400m at Group 1 class meanwhile are both things Dwyer is confident the horse will handle after they settled fourth on Saturday before storming home with plenty still left in the tank.
“I think he can sustain the speed he showed today over the last 600 metres for another 400, no doubt. He’s very clean-winded,” Dwyer added.
Current Queensland Derby odds are a two horse battle between two class fillies Telepathic ($4.50) and Arabian Gold ($5.50).
Donna Logan’s Kiwi visitor Telephatic was last seen running second on debut down under in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) on May 10 while the David Vandyke-trained Arabian Gold, also favourite for Saturday week’s Queensland Oaks, enjoyed a Doomben win in The Roses on the weekend.
Sonntag meanwhile has firmed right into $17 to win.
Runner-up in the Caulfield race, the Luke Oliver-trained Khutulun meanwhile has earned a late entry for the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) on May 31.
First acceptances for the Queensland Derby 2014 close on May 28 followed by the release of the final field on June 4 so stay tuned.
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