Jockey Dwayne Dunn came close to a Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap Day win 12 months ago and believes his outside chance in the Queensland Derby 2014 Happy As Hell is a decent hope of going one better than his second in the race last winter.
Dunn was aboard runner-up Electric Fusion in last year’s $500,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m), the 16-1 chance beaten only by the Chris Waller-trained Hawkspur.
This year he’s secured a ride in the three-year-olds’ classic on another double-figure shot in Terry & Karina O’Sullivan’s Victorian-trained Savoire Vivre gelding Happy As Hell.
Happy As Hell is out to become the first three-year-old from Victoria to win the Queensland Derby since the Peter Moody-trained Brambles (2012) two years ago.
In the latest Queensland Derby odds, led narrowly by fellow Victorian Pinstripe Lane ($4.40) just ahead of Grand Prix Stakes winner Vilanova ($4.50) looking to go back-to-back for Waller and Elusive Runner ($4.50), Happy As Hell is paying $21.
That’s a nice price for the galloper, drawn in barrier 12, according to Dunn who was aboard for their last start third at Sandown last Saturday.
There the up-and-comer crossed two and a half lengths off the smart winner St Jean over the mile and a half giving them form over the Derby distance that many of the top chances don’t have.
“His asset is he stays and he’s been about the older horses but he’s untested at this level,” Dunn told AAP.
“The trip suits him but he is unknown that way of going.”
While there are a couple of queries, their lead-up form is what gives Dunn hope.
It’s the same form line Elusive Fusion had leading into the race last year when they finished runner-up to Magniloquent in an 1800m handicap at Sandown 17 days before their Derby start where they jumped from the outside barrier (18 of 18).
Dunn then is confident he can achieve a similar, if not better, Queensland Derby result this year with Happy As Hell who could start from barrier 10 if the two emergencies come out.
“I don’t see why he can’t win drawing a line through Electric Fusion,” Dunn said.
“Electric Fusion ran second in the race last year coming off a Sandown run and he drew the outside barrier.”
It would be a dream result to run top three in the Derby for Dunn as Happy As Hell is his sole ride at Eagle Farm this weekend, the hoop making the trip from Melbourne especially for the mount.
To view the complete Queensland Derby betting options, and enjoy access to Best Tote or SP + 20% markets for the Stradbroke Handicap 2014, head to Ladbrokes.com.au now!