This Saturday Darley will saddle-up a genuine Queensland Derby 2014 hope in Auberge who tackles the traditional lead-up to the Stradbroke Handicap Day classic, the $150,000 Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes(2200m).
Held at Doomben Racecourse this year’s Grand Prix field features 14 hopeful three-year-olds including the in-form Auberge who is one of six single figure chances in the race.
The Street Cry gelding may have only broken their maiden status last start at career run number eight, but connections are hoping that has opened the flood gates and they can keep the momentum going on Saturday.
Dropping back in distance for their Doomben 10,000 Day assignment, Auberge was a blistering seven and a half length winner at Kembla Grange on April 29.
In that run they went up to the Derby distance of a mile and a half (2400m) and posted a seven and a half length victory.
While it was a pretty mediocre field they defeated in that Class 1 showdown, it was still enough to suggest to Darley’s managing director Henry Plumptre that they were worth of a shot at a Group field this weekend.
“He won by eight lengths. Now the opposition might have been pathetic, I don’t know, but he’s got a staying pedigree,” Plumptre told The Courier Mail.
Current Grand Prix Stakes markets are led by the Tony Gollan-trained local Pentire gelding Amexed ($4) and Donna Logan’s visiting Kiwi filly Telepathic ($4.20) who ran one-two in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 10.
A little further down and punters will find Auberge drawn in barrier eight with Kerrin McEvoy to ride and paying $7.50 to win their first Black Type start.
All going well Saturday and the youngster will be backing up in the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
The Roses winning filly Arabian Gold and Telepathic currently lead futures Derby betting at $4.20 followed by Amexed ($7).
Auberge is then a $12 chance, a price set to firm if they step up and challenge this weekend in a race that has produced four of the past 10 Queensland Derby winners including Hawkspur for team Waller last year.
Plumptre is hoping that happens but will know more about their Derby prospects obviously after Saturday.
“I don’t know whether he’s good enough to win a Queensland Derby, but he might run a place,” he said.
To get behind Auberge, or any of their other classy rivals, either this weekend in the Grand Prix or in the Derby visit Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll always find the right price!