A capacity field of three-year-olds will take to the Flemington track in Saturday’s marquee race – the Victoria Derby 2015 – for the opening day of the famous Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Due to jump as Flemington Race 7 as one of four elite levels on the bumper nine-race line-up, this year’s $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) runs at 3:50pm (AEST).
Leading the Victoria Derby betting markets at a short price through Ladbrokes.com.au, who are the only bookie in Australia offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the entire Flemington race card, is the Mick Price-trained Tarzino.
Craig Newitt retains the ride on the progressive Tavistock colt after guiding him to a fast-finishing third behind Ciaron Maher’s Crown Oaks-bound filly Jameka in last Saturday’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m).
Tarzino ran the ideal Derby trial with his impressive late sectionals in the Vase and on Saturday is out to become the first Victoria Derby winner to come out of the Vase since the Murray Baker-trained Lion Tamer (2nd in 2010).
Price chases his maiden Victoria Derby success with Tarzino who has the favourites’ hoodoo to overcome, just one top fancy saluting in the race in the past 10 years when Efficient (2006) took it out during his three-year-old season nine years ago.
Also coming off a gun Vase run and backing up in the Derby this weekend is the John O’Shea-trained Shards for the famous Godolphin stable.
The Medalia D’Oro colt was 13th in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in his Melbourne debut, which he quickly atoned for appreciating the step up in distance to finish a length away second in the Vase a week ago.
O’Shea will also saddle-up New Approach colt Etymology in the race on the back of a third in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) behind Crown Oaks favourite Sacred Eye at Caulfield on October 17.
There are three last start winners in this year’s Victoria Derby field – Polanksi (2013) the last Victoria Derby winner to come off a win after taking out the Norman Robinson Stakes in the lead-up.
The most notable three-year-old shooting for back-to-back wins when stepping up to elite level company this weekend is the Adam Durrant-trained WA raider Kia Ora Koutou.
Joseph Azzopardi is booked to continue his association with the undefeated Blackfriars gelding who is yet to race outside of Perth or in black-type company.
He earned his Derby bid however with a string of wins back home, most recently taking his record to four-from-four with a tidy one and a quarter-length victory over 2200m at Belmont.
Another last-start winner sitting high up the Victoria Derby odds is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Get The Picture who has the race’s most successful hoop Damien Oliver in the saddle.
Oliver has ridden five Victoria Derby winners to date with: Redding (1992), Amalfi (2001), Elvstorem (2003), Fiveandahalfstar (2012) for his upset as a 40/1 shot three years ago and the Chris Waller-trained Preferment (2014) 12 months ago who is on track for a Melbourne Cup 2015 run next week.
This year he takes over for Ben Melham in the saddle of Redoute’s Choice gelding Extra Choice, Melham aboard the Lindsay Park galloper for his victory in the Listed Geelong Classic (2200m) on October 21 – a race that Preferment ran second in before his Derby win last spring.
Another very successful Victoria Derby jockey after another win in 2015 is Hugh Bowman, still on a high after a four and three-quarter length victory in record time aboard Winx in last weekend’s Cox Plate.
Bowman boasts three VRC Derby wins to date aboard Lion Tamer (2010), Sangster (2011) and Polanski (2013).
On Saturday he partners the aforementioned O’Shea-trained Etymology.
Other headline Victoria Derby acceptors this season include the Pat Hyland-trained Caulfield Guineas and Norman Robinson Stakes runner-up Lizard Island, and Luke Price’s Manhattan Rain gelding Man Of Choice who comes off two Sydney thirds behind Vanbrugh including in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) from October 10.
See below for the full Victoria Derby 2015 field of final acceptors, the barrier draw to be conducted later today.
Fancy a small punt on the Victoria Derby this weekend? Sign-up with Ladbrokes.com.au now and deposit just $50 to get $150 in bonus bets using the code BONUS150 and enjoy a punt on the ponies this Derby Day!
2015 Victoria Derby Final Field
Flemington Race 7 (3:50pm) – 31/10/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||22×632122||LIZARD ISLAND||Pat Hyland||Blake Shinn||0||55.5kg||90|
|3||1111||KIA ORA KOUTOU||Adam Durrant||Joseph Azzopardi||0||55.5kg||76|
|4||5×00818217||AYERS ROCK||Shawn Mathrick||Darren Gauci||0||55.5kg||73|
|5||5×137133||MAN OF CHOICE||Luke Price||Sam Clipperton||0||55.5kg||78|
|6||05×11001||EXTRA CHOICE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Ben Melham||0||55.5kg||73|
|7||31173||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||0||55.5kg||76|
|8||22124||GET THE PICTURE||Stuart Webb||Damien Oliver||0||55.5kg||72|
|10||172162||JADEER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||0||55.5kg||71|
|11||6x46x33211||PALACE TYCOON S||Peter G Moody||Daniel Stackhouse||0||55.5kg||65|
|12||96×0213793||SCADDEN’S RUN||Frankie Stockdale||TBA||0||55.5kg||62|
|13||0x831743||PAY UP BRO||John Moloney||Brenton Avdulla||0||55.5kg||68|
|14||15227||COLONEL CUSTER (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Craig Williams||0||55.5kg||66|
|15||2342007||RED ALTO||Brent Stanley||Opie Bosson||0||55.5kg||61|
|16||8×5150||IRON BOSS||Mark Kavanagh||TBA||0||55.5kg||63|
|17e||5718||BULLISH STOCK (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||0||55.5kg||64|