Three-year-old gelding Caped Crusader is one of 44 horses that remained in contention for the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on Monday.
Following a comfortable win at Royal Randwick this afternoon, Gai Waterhouse is keener than ever to get the gelding into the $2 million race’s field on April 4.
Caped Crusader was one of ten horses that raced in the Ranvet Handicap (1800m) at 2:45pm (local time) at Randwick. Jumping from barrier eight, the gelding bounced to the lead and controlled the race throughout to win two lengths from Rustic Melody with Saddler’s Flame a further length and a half away in third.
It was the second win for Caped Crusader after he won his maiden back in November and the return of jockey Adam Hyeronimus to the saddle.
“They handed it to him early, he was able to get across to the lead quite easily and then I clicked him up from the 600m,” Hyeronimus told TVN.
“He was the best horse in the race and proved it.
“He relished the 1800m and I think he will keep improving over further.”
Caped Crusader relished the jump to 1800 metres after losing over 1250 metres on February 20, which is a good sign at his chances lasting the 2400m trip of the 2015 Australian Derby.
Waterhouse revealed the gelding would now head to the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) on March 28 followed by the Derby one week later.
“He will go to the Tulloch Stakes next start and then on to the Derby,” Waterhouse said.
“He just found the distance a little too short first-up and he appreciated the bigger track here at Randwick today, he was able to get into his rhythm.”
The Australian Derby is one of eight Group One races run at Randwick across April 4 and 11, making up the lucrative Championships series.
Caped Crusader is a $15 shot in the 2015 Australian Derby futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. Place your first bet with the online bookmaker today to receive up to $250 in a bonus match on your first bet.