A trio of three-year-olds is currently battling for top spot in the 2014 Queensland Derby odds ahead of Saturday’s Eagle Farm classic.
One of three majors on the card this Stradbroke Handicap Day, the $500,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) features a full field of 18 starters plus two emergencies.
Three of those are fighting for favouritism, Pinstripe Lane currently leading the markets at $4.40 after drawing favourably in barrier nine.
Damien Oliver rides the Troy Corstens-trained Pins colt that comes off a nice second in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).
The key Derby lead-up, the Grand Prix Stakes has produced four of the past 10 Queensland Derby winners and the bookies are backing it to do so again in 2014.
Pinstripe Lane was ridden by Oliver in that race too from a wide barrier 12 (of 14) draw, and while they were beaten three and a half lengths it was an impressive effort.
They also caught the eye with a nice two length victory over 1900m at Rosehill the start before beating Elusive Runner who is another top fancy for Saturday and has form over the distance.
As mentioned Elusive Runner is also right up the Queensland Derby betting markets sitting as the equal $4.50 second elect with Grand Prix winner Vilanova.
The John Sargent-trained Encosta De Lago gelding was second to Pinstripe Lane two back and was runner-up again at their most recent start over 2000m at Randwick on May 24 in a luckless effort.
They put in a gun piece of work on the course proper at Randwick earlier in the week over 1200m running the last 200m in a smart 12.2 second and looks right in the mix after drawing the inside alley.
Tommy Berry rides the Sydney visitor from barrier one replacing Jason Collett who dropped the reins and got his whip tangled last start causing the horse to lose, and who will still be barracking for Elusive Runner in the Derby.
“I had my opportunity on him, and I’ll be happy if he wins,” Collett told The Daily Telegraph.
“I think he can win from that gate. But that’s racing.”
Barrier one has produced two Queensland Derby winners since 1983.
The Chris Waller-trained Vilanova meanwhile has drawn wide with gate 15, into 13 if the two emergencies come out.
They were clear favourite to win before the Queensland Derby barrier draw after the Commands gelding improved on their Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) fourth to win the Grand Prix.
Skeptics say they won’t go back-to-back, especially from that gate, however it was a very nice win last time out so if they pull out that form again can get the job done.
The rest of the Queensland Derby field is all at double figures then to score an upset.
Some of the other livewire chances getting in at generous prices include Tony Pike’s New Zealand-trained filly Rock Diva ($11), fellow Kiwi Telepathic ($12) and the Helen Page-trained Gold Coast galloper Rudy ($13) with work to do from the far outside barrier.
Lucky Unicorn filly Rock Diva comes via a run in last Saturday’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) where she stepped up to the mile and half again having run third over the distance at home in the NZ Oaks in March.
History shows that two fillies have backed up from a run in the Oaks to win the Queensland Derby in the last 10 years with Dariana (2010) who lost her rider in the lead-up run and Riva San (2008) who took out the double.
Telepathic meanwhile was runner-up to Amexed, a $19 shot for Saturday, in her Australian debut in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) two back before a fifth in the Grand Prix.
Rudy meanwhile is another graduate of both of those races, the Red Dazzler gelding having run fifth in the Rough Habit before their Grand Prix Stakes third finishing only a neck further back from Pinstripe Lane (2nd).
See below for the full Queensland Derby 2014 fixed win odds, prices open now at our preferred online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au who offer punters the chance to collect their winnings in CASH from any ATM in Australia seconds after payout!