There may be little doubt that Gai Waterhouse’s Spring Champion Stakes winner Hampton Court will appreciate more ground than he gets first-up in the Hobartville Stakes on Saturday but the team is yet to confirm an Australian Derby 2015 bid this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Waterhouse’s Redoute’s Choice colt enjoyed a good spring campaign going up quickly in the grades to win the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in October.
He backed up from that making his Melbourne debut on November 1 but could only manage to finish eighth to Preferment in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
On that back of two unremarkable trials at Randwick, Hampton Court return to racing this weekend at Rosehill Gardens in the $200,000 Group 2 Blackwoods CRC Hobartville Stakes (1400m).
One of 13 three-year-olds in the race he has drawn well in barrier three with his Spring Champion Stakes winning jockey Joshua Parr to ride.
Waterhouse’s racing manager Adrian Bott however has warned punters that the 1400m is going to be short of the horse’s best despite Hampton Court’s credible record of one win and a third from three starts over the distance.
“He’s done plenty of work but obviously this distance is short of his best and whatever he does tomorrow he will improve on,” Bott told Racing Network on Friday.
“We’re looking for a really strong return from him so we know we can expect a really good prep from him.”
Rosehill also seems to be a bit of a bogey track for the Group 1 winner as he has had just the one top three run from four starts at the Gardens course.
He is also yet to win first-up and will be improving on whatever he does this weekend explaining his long $41 price in the Hobartville Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Markets are led by the returning Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Caulfield Guineas winner Shooting To Win ($4.60) who also leads the futures odds for Melbourne’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 7.
The next best fancied to win the Hobartville Stakes this year are then Paul Messara’s first-up Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes winner Scissor Kick ($5.50), the James & Bart Cummings-trained Golden Rose winner at the track from September Hallowed Crown ($6) and Messara’s other runner Panzer Division ($6).
Hampton Court meanwhile pays $17 through Ladbrokes to win the 2015 Australian Guineas and is also nominated for the $2 million Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) back in Sydney at Royal Randwick on April 4.
A host of Hobartville Stakes runners dominate the early Australian Derby betting markets with Sweynesse ($6), Preferment ($7) and then Hampton Court ($9).
While he’s one of the best in the all-in Australian Derby odds, the stable isn’t 100% sure he’ll be accepting for the classic.
“The Derby has not been confirmed,” Bott warned.
“We saw in the spring that perhaps his best distance is 2000 metres, so he’ll go to the Randwick Guineas then the Rosehill Guineas before Gai has to make any decisions.
“We can either go to the open-age races or he can run in the Derby if we want – Gai will make those calls when the time is right.”
The $600,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) runs on March 7 followed by the $500,000 Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on Golden Slipper Day a fortnight later.
To back Hampton Court for a place at his juicy odds this Saturday in the Hobartville Stakes, or to get in on the futures Australian Derby markets, make sure you’ve got an account open with Ladbrokes.com.au who will match your first deposit 100% up to $250 with use of the code BETBONUS this autumn!