A standout performer over major New Zealand three-year-old events this time in, trainer Murray Baker has revealed he is eyeing a trip to Australia and berth in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) with Mongolian Khan in April.
Securing four impressive wins over just five competitive appearances on course so far, Mongolian Khan stamped his claims as one to watch at Te Rapa over the weekend; displaying a keen turn of foot late to comfortably win the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m).
Confirming the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) on February 28th figures as the son of Holy Roman Emperor’s major target, Baker was understandably pleased with his performance in the Waikato Guineas and confirmed he will include the three-year-old in nominations for the 2015 Australian Derby; confident he shows all the signs of a serious staying prospect.
“We were pleased because he hadn’t run for seven weeks and first-up over 2000m he won with a bit in hand,” Baker told Racing Ahead.
“We thought it was a good effort because he’s bound to improve a bit.
“He was the favourite and we thought he was a good chance. His work had been good, he’d run second in a trial in between but that was only 1200m.
“I’m confident we’re right in the mix. We think he’s just a natural stayer and that will help him, plus he always jumps and runs near the lead so it’s a bit of an advantage that you don’t have to work your way through the field.
“We’ll certainly be nominating him for the ATC Derby; I think they close next week.
“Obviously if he runs well in the New Zealand Derby then you’ve got to look at getting him to Australia.”
Debuting with an impressive one length victory in a minor over 1400m in September 2014, Mongolian Khan appeared outclassed when eleventh in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) but responded well in taking out the Magnum Mile (1600m) and Listed Guineas Prelude (2100m) in succession; the latter as a rank $42 outsider.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early odds on the 2015 Australian Derby, for which Mongolian Khan is yet to feature.
An impressive winner of the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) in late 2014, Preferment remains favourite at a quote of $5 for success with Ladbrokes.com.au.