This morning Racing Victoria released the field for Saturday’s marquee race at Flemington Racecourse, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hampton Court the headline Victoria Derby 2014 final acceptor.
A capacity field of 16 runners, plus one emergency, is now out for the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m), one of four elite level features of the opening Melbourne Cup Carnival meeting on the weekend.
Waterhouse’s Sydney raider Hampton Court is the early Victoria Derby betting favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au, the Redoute’s Choice colt after back-to-back Group 1 wins with Kerrin McEvoy taking over for Josh Parr on Saturday.
Favourites have a poor recent record in the Victoria Derby however with just two saluting in the past 10 years.
The last was Efficient back in 2006, Hampton Court out to break the hoodoo in 2014.
Last time out Hampton Court enjoyed an upset win over First Seal and Sweynesse in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.
The Spring Champion form was franked by third placed Sweynesse then when he backed up to finish under two lengths away eighth to Adelaide in last weekend’s Group 1 weight-for-age Cox Plate.
Now Hampton Court is looking to continue his ace form in his Melbourne debut up over the 2500m in the Victoria Derby field.
Waterhouse will be keen to secure some other Group 1 wins this Melbourne Cup Carnival after her shot at successive Melbourne Cups with The Offer came to an end when the Sydney Cup winner was officially withdrawn from the ‘race that stops a nation’ yesterday.
She is also after her first Victoria Derby success since training the 1995 winner Nothin’ Leica Dane and said connections hadn’t ruled out paying the late entry for the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with Hampton Court should he salute for the punters this weekend.
The next best fancied of the Victoria Derby acceptors also comes from a big name Sydney trainer with Chris Waller accepting for Preferment who will be ridden by Damien Oliver.
The nicely-bred Zabeel colt is looking to live up to his pedigree on Saturday following some promising form in lower class races this time in.
While still a maiden, Preferment has run top three in four of his six starts so far including behind Nozomi in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on October 22.
Connections of the Anthony Freedman-trained Geelong Classic winner Nozomi have also paid up for their Street Cry colt who shoots for his third straight win and races in Group company for the first time, Dwayne Dunn in the saddle for the Group 1.
Last year’s Victoria Derby winner Polanski also came off back-to-back wins having taken out the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington and then the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) leading up to his Group 1 triumph.
This year’s UCI Stakes winner was the Mark Kavanagh-trained Magicool, to be ridden by Glen Boss in the Derby, the Fastnet Rock gelding having backed up to run three lengths away fifth to Crown Oaks-bound filly Fontein Ruby in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 18.
The Caulfield Classic is the race formerly known as the Norman Robinson Stakes and the best finishing Victoria Derby acceptor in the race that produced last year’s winner was the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Firehouse Rock who ran a length away third behind the Robert Smerdon-trained quinella.
Hayes & Dabernig meanwhile are also represented in this year’s Victoria Derby field by Geelong Classic failure Lotion, but not Zululand.
Another son of Fastnet Rock, Zululand ran sixth in last weekend’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) on Cox Plate Day and is one of the more notable non-acceptors.
Moonee Valley Vase winner Moonovermanhattan for Mick Price then is after the Vase – Derby double achieved by the likes of: Efficient (2006), Plastered (2004), Helenus (2002), Blevic (1994) and Raveneaux (1986).
Also coming off a top three run in the Moonee Valley Vase is the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Kiwi visitor Atmosphere who will have “The Magic Man” Joao Moreira in the saddle.
The Savabeel gelding was one and three-quarter lengths off Moonovermanhattan on the back of a second to Magicool in the UCI Stakes and so will be out to do one better when stepped up in distance this weekend.
The John O’Shea-trained Gouldian, who was scratched from the Vase with a throat infection, has been accepted after a good Flemington workout on Tuesday but the Gerald Ryan-trained Bachman is out of the field.
See below for the official field and jockeys with the 2014 Victoria Derby barrier draw to be conducted live from Crown in Melbourne from 12:30pm (AEDT) and the gates published here at Races.com.au soon after.
In the meantime get ready to back your favourite three-year-olds in the spring classic by opening an account with Ladbrokes.com.au where punters can clean up with the Melbourne Cup MegaFactor and win $10 million for just a $1 bet!
2014 Victoria Derby Final Field
Flemington Race 7 (3:45pm) – 01/11/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2710×83411||HAMPTON COURT||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||0||55.5kg||104|
|2||1×04271||MOONOVERMANHATTAN||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||0||55.5kg||92|
|3||13×5575180||PRENTICE||Simon Foster||Luke Nolen||0||55.5kg||73|
|4||23183||FIREHOUSE ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Nicholas Hall||0||55.5kg||74|
|5||5×1215||MAGICOOL||Mark Kavanagh||Glen Boss||0||55.5kg||78|
|6||3×15723010||LOTION||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||0||55.5kg||71|
|7||48×65311||NOZOMI||Anthony Freedman||Dwayne Dunn||0||55.5kg||71|
|8||623×6144||LIGHT UP MANHATTAN||Ciaron Maher||Mark Zahra||0||55.5kg||68|
|9||3×2117||BONDEIGER||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||0||55.5kg||70|
|10||x552x41024||ROYAL STANDING||Brent Stanley||Damian Lane||0||55.5kg||70|
|11||5222||ATMOSPHERE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Joao Moreira||0||55.5kg||78|
|12||743×451||GOULDIAN||John O’Shea||James McDonald||0||55.5kg||66|
|13||732242||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||0||55.5kg||68|
|14||0798×427||CUBAN FIGHTER||Robbie Laing||–||0||55.5kg||61|
|15||158||SAN PADRE||Michael Kent||Tommy Berry||0||55.5kg||63|
|16||8×839024||THE MIGHTY JROD (NZ)||Robbie Laing||–||0||55.5kg||62|
|17e||5×8307||VERREAUX (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Blake Shinn||0||55.5kg||58|