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Terry & Karina O’Sullivan’s Victorian visitor Happy As Hell has arrived safely in Queensland ahead of the up-and-comer’s bid in Saturday’s Queensland Derby 2014 at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Savoire Vivre gelding Happy As Hell is a confirmed starter in this year’s $500,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) where they will face off against a gun field of fellow three-year-olds in the Stradbroke Handicap Day classic.
They made the trip from Melbourne to Queensland by plane overnight and handled the journey well according to co-trainer Terry O’Sullivan.
“He’s up at the Gold Coast at Johnny Smerdon’s stable and he arrived there safe and sound,” O’Sullivan said on RSN’s Racing Ahead this morning.
“He was a little bit fired up once the other horses got off plane but he’s settled down really good. He travelled well.”
A winner of three of their dozen starts to date, the Stawell-based Happy As Hell faces a big class rise for their Derby bid.
They’ve had just one Black Type assignment before when third last in the Listed Bendigo Guineas (1400m) back in mid-March.
Since then they’ve had a hit and miss season headlined by a Caulfield win over 1800m in April.
At their most recent run Happy As Hell ran third behind older rivals St Jean (1st) and Sacred Flyer (2nd) in a BenchMark 90 handicap over the mile and a half at Sandown-Lakeside over the weekend.
It was their performance there that convinced O’Sullivan to give them a shot at the Derby with the horse looking to enjoy the distance.
“I ran him Saturday just to assess where we’re at,” O’Sullivan said.
“If he hadn’t have run well at Sandown on Saturday we were going to abort the trip, but we thought he went good enough to warrant a chance.
“He came home from Sandown Saturday night and just licked the bin out.
“Not many horses would do that, usually a solid run like that they’d just take a couple of days to get over it, but he was as bright as a button on Sunday morning, so I’m pretty confident he’ll back up fairly well.”
Despite their good run over the mile and a half last weekend, Happy As Hell is a $61 roughie in the latest Queensland Derby odds for their acid test seven days later.
Queensland Derby betting is led by Chris Waller’s Grand Prix Stakes winner Vilanova ($3.80) followed by runner-up in that race Pinstripe Lane and Elusive Runner both at $4.80.
The only other single figure chance is then Kiwi filly Telepathic ($9.50) who bypassed last weekend’s Queensland Derby in favour of the Derby.
To check out the full markets before the Queensland Derby 2014 final field is released tomorrow shortening the prices, head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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