Flemington’s Steve Richards is gearing up for a big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with his three-year-old contingent including up-and-comer Justaway who is being targeted towards the 2014 Victoria Derby.
Whether the now two-year-old Thewayyouare gelding is deserving of a shot at the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) will be better known after this weekend when they race at Flemington on Saturday.
The Victoria Derby is also held at Flemington Racecourse as one of the majors on the opening Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting on November 1, and is the early goal for the lightly raced Justaway.
“He’s showing a lot of promise, I really like him, and we’re looking that he could perhaps be our Derby horse,” Richards told Racing Victoria.
The New Zealand-bred youngster has had just the one career start to date at Seymour on May 26.
There they jumped awkwardly from the gates and were disappointed for a run eventually running fifth to Callahan in a two-year-olds’ maiden over 1100m.
They’ll be given the chance to atone this weekend then with Richards planning to run them in the $80,000 Eugene Gorman Handicap (1400m) at their home track.
“He’s quite a nice horse and I’m looking forward to running him on Saturday over 1400 at Flemington,” he said.
“That’s going to suit him right down to the ground.”
Victoria Derby Day could turn out to be a huge one for Richards this year too as another of his rising three-year-olds could contest the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
That horse is Choisir gelding Marcado, winner of the Listed Talindert Staeks (1100m) on debut back in February.
They also ran a brave third behind Zululand, subsequent runner-up in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) behind Go Indy Go at Randwick at the end of April, in the Group 2 Henry Bucks Sires’ Produce (1400m) on March 8.
Their major spring target at this stage is the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11.
Richards however said he will use his earlier lead-up runs during the festival, possibly including the $120,000 Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on August 23, as a guide to whether they’ll make the mile of the Guineas or be better sticking to the Coolmore sprint distance.
Futures VRC Derby odds are already open at Ladbrokes.com.au, the pre-nomination markets led by the Chris Waller-trained Brazen Beau ($11) who ran second to 2014 Caulfield Guineas favourite Almalad in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Justaway is yet to be included in those Victoria Derby betting markets, something that will likely change if they turn up with a big win at Flemington this weekend.
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