Just 10 three-year-old stayers have been accepted into the Australian Derby 2015 field at Royal Randwick with the final line-up led by the Chris Waller-trained Preferment who has drawn the outside barrier for Saturday’s showdown.
One of four elite level Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival features headlining an all black-type program at Royal Randwick this Saturday for Day 1 of The Championships, this year’s $2 million Group 1 BMW Australian Derby (2400m) features only 10 of a possible 18 confirmed starters.
Waller’s nicely-bred Zabeel colt Preferment leads the field with the number one saddlecloth and Damien Oliver staying on from barrier 10, which hasn’t produced an Australian Derby winner since Dr. Grace (1990).
Oliver rode the galloper to victory during the spring in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and is now chasing his second Australian Derby win to add to that won aboard Don Eduardo (2002).
Now looking to complete the interstate Derby double, Preferment was last seen running second in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March 21 as a $26 outsider.
He won’t be found at that price this weekend though having sat at the top of the pre-field Australian Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Second elect in those early Australian Derby betting markets is Preferment’s last start conqueror Volkstok’n’barrell for the Ruakaka-based New Zealand trainer Donna Logan.
Travelling down under on the back of a Group 1 NZ Derby (2400m) win at Ellerslie from February 28, the Tavistock gelding beat home Preferment by a nose in the Rosehill Guineas and is now after another win for the Kiwis following the recent success of It’s A Dundeel (2013).
The Rosehill Guineas is historically the best lead-up run into the ATC Derby having produced five of the past six winners including It’s A Dundeel and Criterion (2014) who both completed the double Volkstok’n’barrell chases this weekend with Craig Williams aboard in barrier five.
Williams chases his maiden ATC Derby win and barrier five hasn’t produced a winner since the Team Hawkes-trained Octagonal in 1996.
Two New Zealand raiders are in the Australian Derby field this year, the other being Mongolian Khan to be ridden by Opie Bosson for It’s A Dundeel’s trainer Murray Baker after his third win in the race having also prepared Nom Du Jeu (2008).
The Holy Roman Emperor colt won the NZ Derby beating Volkstok’n’barrell by a length before his fifth when six lengths off the same horse when the tables were turned in Sydney’s Rosehill Guineas a fortnight ago.
Mongolian Khan then is out to atone for his Guineas run and has barrier one, which Criterion won last year’s Australian Derby from, to aid his cause.
Barrier eight is the most successful Australian Derby gate in the past five years having produced an amazing three winners since 2010.
This weekend the coveted barrier eight starting draw belongs to the Pat Carey-trained roughie Bikila who will need all the luck he can get having only gone up to black-type company last start at Moonee Valley for a disappointing seventh to Chill Party in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m).
Other better fancied hopes taking on the favourites on Saturday meanwhile are the John O’Shea-trained Hauraki for James McDonald in barrier nine and John Sargent’s lightly-raced Omeros jumping from two with the ‘Magic Man’ Joao Moreira booked for the ride.
Reset colt Hauraki ran second to smart filly Winx two back in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill then returned to the track last Saturday earning his Derby call-up with a smart two and a half length victory in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m).
The Tulloch Stakes also produces Omeros, the High Chaparral gelding having run second when having just his third career start he’ll be looking to build on this weekend when up in class again.
Check out the full Australian Derby 2014 field, barriers and jockeys in the table below.
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2015 Australian Derby Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (3:50pm) – 04/04/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||322421×062||PREFERMENT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||10||56.5kg||105|
|2||311×111321||VOLKSTOK’N’BARRELL (NZ)||Donna Logan||Craig Williams||5||56.5kg||108|
|3||10111115||MONGOLIAN KHAN||Murray Baker||Opie Bosson||1||56.5kg||105|
|4||34118×9669||HAMPTON COURT||Gai Waterhouse||Joshua Parr||6||56.5kg||100|
|5||11×6021||HAURAKI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||9||56.5kg||88|
|6||x3311x3534||QUICK STRIKE||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||3||56.5kg||72|
|7||412||OMEROS||John Sargent||Joao Moreira||2||56.5kg||78|
|8||461215||RULING DYNASTY||Bart & James Cummings||Tommy Berry||4||56.5kg||71|
|9||8817||BIKILA||Pat Carey||Chad Schofield||8||56.5kg||64|
|10||3×4310||BROGUE (NZ)||Steve Englebrecht||Christian Reith||7||56.5kg||64|