Cranbourne horseman Shawn Mathrick said he will have no choice but instruct jockey Darren Gauci to go forward in Saturday’s 2015 Victoria Derby after his hope in the Flemington feature Ayers Rock draw barrier 12.
The barriers for a capacity field in this year’s $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) are now out, Mathrick’s Nicconi colt Ayers Rock to jump from barrier 12 of 16 in Flemington Race 7 at 3:50pm (AEST) this weekend.
Winner of the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington two back on Turnbull Stakes Day, the youngster was last seen running five lengths away seventh behind Crown Oaks favourite Sacred Eye in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) on October 17.
The Norman Robinson was the race Polanski came off a win in before his Victoria Derby success in 2013, but no horse has run worse than fifth in the lead-up to a VRC Derby victory since Rebel Raider who was seventh in Sydney’s Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes in his last Group run before the Melbourne feature.
Gauci retains the ride on Ayers Rock this weekend having his 16th run in a Victoria Derby but shooting for his first top three finish in the three-year-olds’ classic.
The bookmakers at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on ALL Flemington races this Victoria Derby Day, have Ayers Rock rated only a $26 chance to win.
Mathrick admits it is a tough test from barrier 12, but hopes a forward position early can help put his galloper in the frame for a Victoria Derby upset.
“It wasn’t the plan to go forward, but it is now,” Mathrick told Racing Victoria.
“We’ll probably ride forward and with a bit of luck there’s something else that will take it up and we’ll just sit off them.”
Barrier 12 has produced just two Victoria Derby winners (since 1983) the latest being Second Coming (1997).
Three winners in the past 10 years though have won from double digits in the 2500m showdown with Benicio (11 in 2005), Rebel Raider (15 in 2008) and Lion Tamer (14 in 2010).
Upsets are also not uncommon in the Victoria Derby with plenty of double figure hopes getting the job done in recent years the longest priced of which were Fiveandahalfstar ($40 in 2012) and the aforementioned Rebel Raider who jumped at 100/1.
This year’s clear favourite at $2.40 in Victoria Derby betting is the Mick Price-trained Tarzino who put the writing on the wall with an eye-catching third in last Saturday’s Moonee Valley Vase over 2040m.
He has gate 10 for Craig Newitt to jump from in his first look at the 2500m and is also set to go forward early from that starting position.
The outside barrier this year meanwhile belongs to Extra Choice for David Hayes & Tom Dabernig, co-trainer Hayes after his third win following previous success with King’s High (1988) and Kibbutz (2007).
Ben Melham stays on the Redoute’s Choice gelding who comes off a win in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) from October 12, the same race Preferment ran second in before his Victoria Derby success 12 months ago.
Back your Victoria Derby favourites online at Ladbrokes.com.au this weekend who are also offering an Extra 50% on your very first Fixed Odds winner in Races 1 – 5 on the card!