First declarations for a number of Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival features closed this morning including those for the Victoria Derby 2014 where 27 three-year-olds remain in contention.
The premier race for that age group held in Victoria for the spring, the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) runs at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday November 1 on the first of four Melbourne Cup Carnival meetings.
There were originally 84 youngsters nominated for this year’s Victoria Derby, a figure down to 27 with the first acceptances today.
Heading the declarations and updated Victoria Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hampton Court.
The clear favourite paying $2.80 to win, the Redoute’s Choice colt has won back-to-back races in Sydney this season but is yet to race in Melbourne.
Two back he won the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) and then handled a class and distance rise just seven days later at Randwick to win the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in an upset on October 11.
Now the money says he’ll go up to the 2500m no issue and win the Victoria Derby handing Waterhouse her first win in the classic since Nothin’ Leica Dane (1995).
Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Polanski came via a win in the Norman Robinson Stakes, the race known this year as the Caulfield Classic and held last Saturday on Caulfield Cup Day.
It was the Robert Smerdon-trained fillies Fontein Ruby and Crafty, now set for the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) during the Melbourne Cup Carnival that stole the show in this year’s race.
However third past the post, the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Firehouse Rock is onto the Victoria Derby featuring in the first acceptances.
A $13 shot in the markets at Ladbrokes for the Group 1, the Fastnet Rock colt has won just one of his five starts to date over 1700m at Caulfield but was just over a length away from the fillies in the Classic when up to 2000m for the first time.
Hayes & Dabernig have also accepted for last start Adelaide winner Lotion ($26) and Caulfield Guineas failure Zululand ($51).
Following Hampton Court in the post-first acceptances Victoria Derby odds are then New Zealand visitor Atmosphere ($8.50) and the Chris Waller-trained Preferment ($9).
Savabeel gelding Atmosphere may officially be trained in New Zealand but he’s raced exclusively in Australia over his three start career to date.
His latest effort was at Flemington in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) where he ran third from a wide barrier 13 of 14 draw in his first black-type start.
Preferment is then a nicely-bred Zabeel colt who should appreciate getting up over more distance having only ever been up over a mile and never in stakes’ company.
UCI Stakes winner Magicool meanwhile also features in the VRC Derby first declarations, Mark Kavanagh’s gelding having backed up to run fifth in the Caulfield Classic.
Kavanagh, who has never prepared a Victoria Derby winner, has a total of three first acceptors with Magicool joined by outside chances Verreaux ($41) and Zimbabwe ($81).
Magicool meanwhile is a $10 chance for the Derby, equal with the Gerald Ryan-trained Bachman who ran third in the Dulcify Quality and then sixth in the Caulfield Classic.
Other notable Victoria Derby first acceptances include Caulfield Classic fourth placegetter Light Up Manhattan ($13), last start Caulfield winner over a mile Bondeiger ($15) and the John O’Shea-trained Gouldian ($15).
See below for the full AAMI Victoria Derby 2014 first acceptors, the final field due for release on Tuesday October 28.
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2014 Victoria Derby First Acceptances
|1||ATMOSPHERE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young|
|4||CORAM||Leon & Troy Corstens|
|5||CUBAN FIGHTER||Robbie Laing|
|6||ESPRIT DE SOL S||Mark Riley|
|7||FIREHOUSE ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|9||HAMPTON COURT||Gai Waterhouse|
|10||IT’S THYME (NZ)||Chris Hyland|
|11||KIWI DREAMER (NZ)||Michael Moroney|
|12||LIGHT UP MANHATTAN||Ciaron Maher|
|13||LOTION||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|15||MIRACLE THE SECOND||Daniel Clarken|
|18||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller|
|20||ROYAL STANDING||Brent Stanley|
|21||SAN PADRE||Michael Kent|
|22||SIMPLY EXPLOSIVE (NZ)||Michael Moroney|
|23||THE MIGHTY JROD (NZ)||Robbie Laing|
|24||TURBO STREET||Tony McEvoy|
|25||VERREAUX (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh|
|26||ZIMBABWE (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh|
|27||ZULULAND||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|