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Nozomi, first home in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m), and Preferment, hot on his heels in second place, were both winners following today’s race.
Nozomi earned himself a start in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) on November 1 following his hard-fought victory while Preferment has seen his Victoria Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au tighten to $4.80 – making him second favourite behind Hampton Court ($2.80).
Damien Oliver, who rode Preferment home in the Classic, said the “penny just did not drop” as he was under pressure coming down the hill but then half way up the straight he “decided to go” but he came too late in the end.
“He just wasn’t responding and then he let down good the last 100 metres,” Oliver said following the race.
“He will love Flemington and a bit extra distance.”
Nozomi also saw his price shorten in the Victoria Derby betting market to $13, putting him alongside Firehouse Rock and Light Up Manhattan.
Steve Adamn, assistant trainer to Anthony Freedman, was pleased with the colt’s ability to keep off the favourite and bring home the win by a nose. He believes Nozomi will have no trouble stepping up in class and distance for the Victoria Derby 2014.
“[Dwayne Dunn, jockey] got into a good spot on him; he relaxed OK with the blinkers back on and fought it right out to the line,” Adams said after the race.
“I think he’s bred to stay, very well bred and he’ll definitely run-out the 2500.”
First declarations for the $1.5 million VRC Derby were taken yesterday, with 27 three-year-olds remaining in contention.
Hampton Court leads both the declarations and odds following back-to-back wins in Sydney this season. He won the Listed Dulcify Quality (1600m) two back before stepping up in both class and distance just one week later to cause an upset win in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), for which he had a starting price of $16.
The Freedman camp are hopeful Nozomi can follow a similar path.
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