She may have dropped out of favour with the punters after a last start loss, but Donna Logan’s smart New Zealand mare Telepathic in the Queensland Derby 2014 is still a great pick-up for jockey James McDonald.
A Kiwi expat himself, former gun apprentice McDonald has been confirmed as the rider for Mossman filly Telepathic when she takes on the boys in Saturday week’s $500,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm.
The Stradbroke Handicap Day assignment has always been the target race for Telepathic over a run against her own kind in the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) this weekend.
A winner of three of her starts back home, Telepathic was at one time leading the pre-field Queensland Derby odds at the Aussie bookmakers.
She’s since dropped down to the fifth line of Oaks betting paying $8 to win after going down in both of her starts down under to date.
In her Australian debut she ran a promising second behind Amexed, now an $11 Derby chance, in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) on May 10 at Doomben.
Returning to the track a fortnight later, Telepathic was a luckless fifth in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) last Saturday when beaten over five lengths by the runaway winner Vilanova after being posted three wide throughout the run.
Chris Waller’s Grand Prix winner Vilanova then has shot to the top of the Queensland Derby markets paying $5 just ahead of the David Vandyke-trained Arabian Gold.
Arabian Gold was, until markets were suspended, the clear favourite to win the Queensland Oaks before a possible Derby tilt.
She twisted her foot pre-gallop this morning however with Vandyke waiting to see if it develops into an abscess before confirming whether or not she’ll still line-up in the Oaks.
For both of their recent Doomben runs Telepathic was ridden by Mark Du Plessis.
They will be replaced on Stradbroke Day however by McDonald, putting on hold their Sydney jockey premiership dreams for a chance at a Group 1 in Brisbane.
He turned down rides at last weekend’s Doomben 10,000 meeting but has accepted the opportunity on Telepathic.
The race Telepathic comes into the Derby via meanwhile has produced four previous winners including Hawkspur last year who completed the Grand Prix – Derby double for Waller.
The last filly to win the Queensland Derby meanwhile was Dariana (2010) who came via a Queensland Oaks run where she lost her rider.
Another recent Queensland Derby jockey confirmation was the in-form Tommy Berry replacing Jason Collett on the John Sargent-trained Elusive Runner who is safe in betting at $8 to win.
Collett put in a shocking ride aboard the Encosta De Lago three-year-old at Randwick last Saturday that saw the youngster get narrowly defeated over 2000m in a Benchmark 73, a performance that saw connections pull the pin on him for the Derby.
Berry also partners with Gai Waterhouse’s up-and-comer Almalad in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) at the meeting and has just been confirmed as the rider for the Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane in the Stradbroke.
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