After securing his first ‘Major’ win on Winx in last weekend’s stellar edition of the Cox Plate, jockey Hugh Bowman has picked up a nice ride in Saturday’s Victoria Derby 2015 aboard the John O’Shea-trained Etymology.
Bowman was in tears after living a jockey’s dream, guiding the incredible Chris Waller-trained mare Winx to nearly a five length win in record time in the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
He now heads to Flemington Racecourse this weekend after more elite level success including in the day’s marquee race, the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m).
A staying race for three-year-olds, the Victoria Derby is one of four Group 1 races held on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the 16-starter field is likely to feature three chances for Godolphin’s head trainer O’Shea.
O’Shea has saddled-up four previous Victoria Derby runners without success, something he hopes to change on Saturday with the stable’s entries being Shards, Tally and Etymology.
Medaglia D’Oro colt Shards is the shortest priced of the stablemates in the early Victoria Derby odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, home of Best Tote or SP + 20% on all 9 Victoria Derby Day races this Saturday.
After his first win since August’s Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) at Randwick, Shards improved on a 13th in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) two back relishing the extra metres in last Saturday’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m).
In the Cox Plate Day support act he ran a length away second behind the Ciaron Maher-trained filly Jameka who booked her $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) run at Flemington on November 5 with the victory.
Shards is now a $13 Derby hope, odds led by Mick Price’s Vase third placegetter Tarzino ($2.40) who made up the most ground with stellar late sectionals in the perfect trial for this weekend’s 2500m clash.
Following Shards closely at $15 is then Bowman’s mount Etymology who had James McDonald aboard for his two most recent starts including a third to 2015 Crown Oaks favourite Sacred Eye in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
Bowman has had five previous Victoria Derby rides for a trio of wins aboard back-to-back Kiwi winners Lion Tamer (2010) and Sangster (2011) before his latest win on Polanski (2013) two years ago who completed the Norman Robinson – Derby double.
“I wouldn’t say it put me on the map but it certainly added to my repertoire,” Bowman told The Australian speaking of his hat-trick of Victoria Derby wins.
“I have had a bit of luck in the race and hopefully that might continue.”
Bowman thought he might miss out on a shot at a fourth Derby success after his original ride, the Chris Waller-trained Spring Champion Stakes winner Vanbrugh was set to the paddock early ahead of an autumn return.
Waller is now without a runner in the Derby but still has a number of hopes across the day’s other Group 1 races including his 2013 Doomben Cup winner Beaten Up who shoots for a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
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